In a bid to give a boost to the agriculture sector and agri-allied businesses, the state cabinet Tuesday approved the Maharashtra State Agriculture and Rural Transformation (SMART) project. The Rs 2200 crore project will be funded by the World Bank to the extent of 70 per cent (Rs 1554 crore) in the form of a loan, a release issued by the Chief Minister's office stated. It added that the state will contribute 26.67 per cent or Rs 592 crore while the rest 3.33 per cent will be given by the Rural Social Transformation Foundation. The project is to be implemented over a period of 6 years, it said.
The state cabinet also approved a proposal to increase the honorarium of kotwals, part of the Revenue department in rural areas, from Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,500. Minister for Revenue Chandrakant Patil said about 12,500 kotwals in the state will benefit from the decision. Patil said kotwals who had completed 11-20 years of service will be paid Rs 7,725, those with service of 21-30 years will be paid Rs 7800 and those in service for 31 years or more will now get Rs 7875. "Also, the kotwals not eligible for the increase as per age and who are more than 50 years of age will be paid Rs 15,000 as honorarium," he said.
The cabinet also gave its nod to make permanent 1,416 workers in different municipal corporations and councils, who are currently daily wage workers, and had joined service between March 11, 1993, and March 27, 2000. The release said temporary new positions will also be created to incorporate such workers if needed. The state government, in its decision dated May 6, 2000, had made permanent daily wage workers who had started before March 10, 1993, and the proposal to consider workers who had joined after the period was under consideration of the government.
The state cabinet also approved the 48.29 km elevated route of the second phase of the Nagpur metro rail project. According to the release by the Chief Minister's office, the Nagpur metro project is being implemented by Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited at a cost of Rs 11,239 crore. The funds have also been approved by the cabinet Tuesday. The phase 2 will have 35 stations and provide connectivity to areas adjacent to Nagpur like Kampte, Wadi, Hingna, Pardi and Butibori industrial estate.
(With inputs from agencies.)