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IS NARAYAN RANE’S ANNOUCEMENT OF AN INDUSTRIAL TOWNSHIP IN THANE BELAPUR INDUSTRIAL BELT AN ELECTION STUNT?

narayan-rane1During the silver jubilee celebration of the small-scale entrepreneurs association, Industry Minister Narayan Rane announced an industrial township for TTC-MIDC, a long pending demand of the association, but is this announcement an election stunt? Small Scale Entrepreneurs Association officially came into existence in 1984. The association celebrated its Silver Jubilee in a grand style. Present as the chief guest on the occasion was State Industry Minister Narayan Rane. Present along with him was NMMC Commissioner Vijay Nahata, President of the association Kiran Churi and other members of the association. The celebration was also taken as an opportunity by the association to highlight their problems and issues in the front of the minister. The ongoing battle between the small scale industries and NMMC was shown by way of a presentation. The association highlighted on how NMMC levies property taxes and cess without having any legal jurisdiction and despite collecting taxes the industries are given the poorest of infrastructure and services. The occasion also saw the inauguration of SSEA’s silver jubilee magazine Shagun and the official inauguration of their website at the hands of Industry Minister Narayan Rane. A model of an exposition center for TTC-MIDC was also inaugurated on the day. In his addressal, Industry Minister Narayan Rane assured that the problems of the association would be resolved within six months. However, what brought glees to the faces of the industrialists was when Industry Minister Narayan Rane announced an industrial township for them. In the past also there have demands from the Small Scale Entrepreneurs Association to form an industrial township but each time the pleas have faced pressure from NMMC that stands to loose nearly 40% of its revenue if a township is formed. There demands once again surfaced when the SEZs policy was declared that gives a bouquet of benefits and tax holidays for foreign companies even as domestic industries at the Thane Belapur Belt continued to be ignored and faced harassment of paying exorbitant taxes to both MIDC and NMMC. At that time too their demands had gone unheard. Now that Narayan Rane has revived the hopes of industrialists by promising them a township in the next six months, it will be a wait and watch how the Industries Minister tackles the opposition from NMMC or does the announcement turn out to be just another election stunt. With cameraperson Vinayak Dalvi, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.

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