On the backdrop of the recent fire at the Deonar dumpyard in Mumbai, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has admitted to the dismal rate of waste processing in Maharashtra. “We are all sitting on a ticking atom bomb which may explode any minute. It is eroding our health every passing minute, and creating a hazardous situation,” Fadnavis said, adding that Maharashtra produces 30,000 metric tonnes of solid waste, of which only 13,000 metric tonnes are processed. He was addressing a public rally in the northern city of Nashik. The speech and the rally became famous though for his remarks on “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.
While clarifying his stand on the “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” row, the CM said that the media picked up only five minutes of his 50-minute speech. The Sunday Guardian has obtained the recording of his full speech in Nashik, in which he has talked elaborately on development, especially concerns on growing waste, solid waste management, equal right to temple entry, industrialisation, drought, and the challenges faced by the administration during the organisation of the Kumbh Mela.
“We can’t just dump our waste. Maharashtra produces 30,000 metric tonnes of solid waste, of which only 13,000 metric tonnes are processed. We have only created cities, and have not looked at this problem. We are degrading the environment every day, and spreading illness. As a state government, we have decided that we will help process this waste,” he said, adding that the state government would fund 100% water cost for sewage water treatment in Nashik. “Godai (river Godavari) is an important river. She should flow again. She should be clean,” he said.
Claiming that the state government will help cities to implement ideas for becoming “smart cities”, he said that a “smart city” is one which has a proper waste management system provides potable water. “There are 300 cities in Maharashtra. It has been 67 years since Independence, but not a single city in Maharashtra is defecation-free. At least our women should have the facility of a decent toilet. Just as the Swachh Bharat campaign, we have undertaken the Swachh Maharashtra campaign. Today, 100 cities in Maharashtra are defecation-free. By 2017, 150 more cities will be defecation-free. We will achieve 100% target by 2018,” Fadnavis said. While slamming some elements for closing down industries in north Maharashtra, he said that rapid industrialisation was an effective way of tackling unemployment. “Large scale industrialisation is the need of the hour. During the ‘Make in India’ week, we promoted ‘Make in Maharashtra’. For Nashik alone, the state government has signed MoUs worth Rs 35,000 crore. This will generate jobs for 1.5 lakh people. Workers’ welfare is our priority,” he said.
Talking about the temple entry issue, Fadnavis claimed that “Hinduism does not forbid any woman from entering any temple. Hindu religion started degrading since the time it built barriers of caste system. All these things are ruining the ‘Sanatan culture’. We have told the High Court that if men get admission in a temple, women should get it too. But people should not create a ruckus to gain publicity out of this,” he said.