At the beginning of his parliamentarian career, whenever Kamalnath used to meet farmers he used to talk about their farming and used to ask which crops were sown? Farmers would innocently tell him about the crops like kodo, kutki, maize, barley etc. and he would enquire about how much were they able to make from farming?
Then farmers would respond to him that their earnings were hand to mouth. Kamalnath used to suggest them to sow cash crop which used to exite them. Then he will tell them about the soyabean crop and used to enlighten them that soyabean is in demand within the country for the edible oil and its residue after the oil extraction is very much in demand in other countries. A crop which is in demand both in the country and outside the country will be sold like hot cake. This is what is called the cash crop.
The suggestion from their young parliamentarian was taken well by farmers and everyone started switching to soyaben cash crop. In 1985-86 soyabean production from the region was One lac twenty two thousand and seven hundred sixty nine quintals. By 1991-92 soyabean production from the region touched five lac ninety nine thousand three hundred and eighty eight quintals. The district was recognized as one of the topmost producers of soyabean. Kamalnath didn't stop here, he was committed to improve the financial health of farmers and thus he sent teams from agriculture division and industrial division to villages to improve the method of cultivation, use of modern and improved equipment and started Agriculture exhibitions and discussion forums etc. which are still continued till date.
This was the desire of Kamalnath that "farmers of his home district should be as affluent and happy as farmers of Haryana and Punjab".
Saunsar and Pandhurna development areas of Chhindwara are known for its orange crop. When draught hit this are in the year 1999 and 2000,the orange farmers were besieged to not only feed their families but also about protecting the orange orchards. At that point of time the revenue guideline of the government does not include protection of "Orcahrd growers" at the time of natural calamity. Kamalnath requested the state government to consider it as a special case. For the first time state government granted the financial relief package to Orchard growers. The ten thousand villagers from Pandhurna village and three thousand villagers of Saunsar received relief package of Rs. 6.14 crore and 78 lacks respectively. This was distributed by Chief minister in the presence of Kamalnath. From then on orchard farmer's relief is included in the state revenue guidelines which the credit goes to Kamalnath.
Kamalnath initiated the campaign to get the tar road connecting district headquarters and tehsils in the district in 1981, his efforts peaked out in 2009. By this time Kamalnath got the funds granted for getting the tar road from the government schemes like Pradhan Mantri Sadak Priyojna and Central road fund etc. To interconnect villages by road network he got grant approved of Rs 54 crores in 2003-04 under Pradhan Mantri Sadak yojna for 304 KM. of road in the district & Rs 298 crore 79 laks for the development of 242 roads of the district measuring 1131 KM. Kamalnath also got funds worth 216 crore 34 laks in 2001-09 covering 24 big road projects. He did not stop and central government institutions NTBC and NBC spent 1 crore 10 lakhs in laying 14 roads of Pandhurna, 16 of Sansur and 16 of Bicchua. At the same time he got crores sanctioned from the backward area development fund for internal rods at villages.
In 2009 parliamentary election Kamalnath continued his winning streak and was elected again as MP. Once again UPA formed the government in the centre and in UPA-2 government Kamalnath took charge of the National Highways and surface transportation ministry. It is the charisma of Kamalnath's leadership that whichever department he was entrusted with became active in a very short span of time. Department of National Highways which during UPA-1 days was making only 2 KM roads per day in one year under Kamalnath's leadership started making 10-13 KM. roads per day. He made it possible by approving the committee's recommendation to simplify the rules for private participation. This resulted in approval of 63 road projects in 2009-10. Kamalnath remained minister for only 583 days but in this short span he not only mobilized the ministry it also opened the flood gates of development for Chhindwara district.
It's another example of Kamalnath's farsightedness that he not only got approval to develop two state highways as national highways around the city. He also realized that heavy vehicles plying around Chhindwara city will affect the traffic system badly and hence he got approval of Ring Road also. The combined cost of Highway development and ring road was Rupee one arab four hundred and twelve crores. Like other metro cities in the country the Ring road around Chhindwara will also help in development of the city. This was inaugurated on 25th Feb 2014 by the Minister of surface transportation Mr. Oskar Fernandez in presence of Kamalnath
Central govt. accepted Kamalnath's proposal and declared two state highways to National Highways (NH). These are
1) NH-547 Narsinghpur - Amarwada - Chhindwara - Saunsur - Savaner road and
2) NH-337 Multai - Chhindwara - Seoni road. Initially these were state highways having width of 5.5 to 7 meters. Central govt. has started the project it to convert these roads to 10 meter wide Paved Solder two lane highway. This project is completed and significantly reduced the road travel time between Chhindwara to Nagpur.
At the same time approval of four lane road development of NH-69 linking Bhopal to Nagpur was also approved. A bypass road is also planned for Pandhurna town ship. Two bridges costing 5.38 crores being constructed by national highway authority connecting Pandhurna town ship. These three national highways at Chhindwara are the shortest route connecting North and South India and made the city a Junction.
For quite some time there was public demand of constructing an over bridge at the junction of Seoni - Narsinghpur road railway crossing. Kamalnath ensured approval of this over bridge along with the road development of Seoni - Nagpur sector. This over bridge was also inaugurated on 25th Feb 2014 by Kamalnath.
Solving the issue of potable water availability for both villages and urban areas.
While touring the villages of the district, the sight of poor women carrying water pots on their head from far off sources used to distress Sri Kamalnath. At that time only 40 villages of Chhindwara had proper water supply facility, remaining 1863 villages had daunting water shortage. Villagers were unaware that P.H.E. department of the Govt. was responsible for installing hand pumps to ensure potable water availability. Due to reasons unknown this department’s activity was close to zero in the district. Kamalnath worked with central government which initiated the tube well digging in villages of the district. This gave hope to villagers that sooner or later their village will also have a hand pump. The digging of tubewells continued in Chhindwara and by 2003-04 there were 10015 hand pumps installed in the district, which was close to 5-6 hand pumps per village. However, Kamalnath knew that these hand pumps were not an everlasting solution for potable water and a stable source of water supply was required for each village. To meet the objective, 643 village water supply schemes were developed and handed over to gram panchayat.
Simultaneously, he also worked on solving the water supply issue in urban areas. For Chhindwara district Kanhargaon dam project was initiated. As this project got completed the crisis of potable water was over for the residents of Chhindwara. Constant efforts are being made to ensure adequate water supply to all the areas of the district.
Number of families getting potable water
In 1980 only 40 villages of the district had proper potable water supply. Kamalnath’s effort resulted in 56.9% families supplied potable water and by 2001 this percentage improved to 73.3% which translates to three fourth population of the district getting potable water supply.
However his target was to ensure potable water supply to 100% of the families of the district. In 2004 when he was again given a Ministerial berth in congress lead central government, he brought the focus back to Chhindwara district’s potable water supply and road network problems.
Provided billions of rupees grant from Centre’s ministry of urban development.
As Shri Kamalnath took the charge of the Urban Development Ministry in the Centre, he approved a grant for the long pending potable water project.
Encouraging irrigation using tube well
Sri Kamalnath encouraged farmers to use modern technology and means for using ground water for irrigation and liberated farming from the dependence on rain. This became possible as electricity was available in abundance at villages and farms. Sri Kamalnath convinced farmers that it was prudent to have a tube well installed rather than installing pumps at conventional wells. Farmers followed his advice and started irrigation using tube wells. By 1990-91 there were 163 tube wells in the district collectively irrigating 1235 hectares of farm land. By 2004 number of tube wells increased to 4521 which were irrigating 19331 hectare farm land. This increased by 2010-11 to 10166 tube wells irrigating 32177 hectare farm land and by 2013-14 51456 hectare farm land was getting irrigated by tube wells.
His encouragement to farmers to follow advanced farming techniques generated excitement in farmers to improve their farming. They started the competing to have their own tube well. By 1980 there were 46911 tube wells irrigating 42616 hectares of farm land. This improved by 1990 to 59288 tube wells irrigating 59769 hectares and by 2003-04 the tally grew to 80045 tube wells covering 83770 hectares of farm land. By 2010-11 number of tube wells increased to 93265 irrigating 99605 hectares of farm land.
Chhindwara Included in the Center’s Scheme for Complete Electrification of Districts.
In 1980, when the Congress government started the work of electrification of districts, Kamalnath promptly got Chhindwara enlisted with the Ministry of Energy alongside Raibarelly, Medak (Indira Gandhi), Amethi (Sanjay Gandhi) and Malda (Presiding energy minister) parliamentary constituencies.
By 1979-80 electrification of only 43.47% of villages of Chhindwara district was done, while by 1984, electrification of 1874 out of total 1984 villages was completed. Remaining 110 villages were left out due to geographical challenges. By the year 2003, electrification of twelve more villages was completed and the total number of villages with complete electrification reached to 1896. With increased demand of electricity, incidents of voltage fluctuation started increasing. To address voltage fluctuation issue and to achieve electrification of remaining 88 villages Sri Kamalnath initiated the Electric Substation installation in remote areas. For this the Rajiv Gandhi Electrification Scheme was also rolled out at Chhindwara in 2006. Under this scheme central Govt. provided the grant of 90% of the required fund for strengthening the electricity management for villages.
As a real visionary, Shri Kamalnath showcased his foresight by initiating the complete electrification project for the district 35 years ago. While many areas in country and state were still struggling to get the electricity, work was started in Chhindwara to address voltage fluctuation problem and strengthening electricity infrastructure to ensure sustained and trouble free electricity supply covering even the smallest settlements.
For the industrialization of the district, Sri Kamalnath chose not act as a politician but as a son of the soil. He had a vision to expand the city by industrializing it and at the same keep the ill effects of post industrialisation away from the city.
Since the beginning of his career, he personally encouraged industrialists to set up plants and factories in the area. Not only this he ensured an industry friendly environment and system to lure more and more companies. This is the reason Hindustan Unilever set up their plant in 1984 at Chhindwara – Narsinghpur road at village Lahgadua. To accelerate the investment for industrialization, Kamalnath chose the area which was close to Nagpur city as the Nagpur airport provided easy connectivity to the industrialists. He was also instrumental in getting land reserved for industries by the industrial development corporation at Village Kahairi Tay in Sansaur development area.
|Name||Produce||Investment (Lacks)||Yr. Started||Current status|
|1||Suryavanshi Mill||Cotton Fabric||3243.10||1991||Operating|
|3||Croworth India||Pharmaceutical||1225.65||1992||shut down|
|4||MP State Fed||Soyabean oil||1805.00||1991||shut down|
|5||PBM Ploytech||Cotton Fabric||3772.78||1992||operating|
|6||Prizm Solvent||Soyabean oil||1200.00||1990||shut down|
|7||Vindhyachal Synthetic||Fabrics||0173.83||1994||shut down|
|9||Hindustan Lever||Detergent Soap||0960.00||1984||operating|
|10||Dry Tech Process||Powder||0257.00||1994||operating|
|11||Nikit Industries||Oxygen Gas||0395.00||1991||operating|
|13||Super Pack||Bardana||0622.84||1987||shut down|
|14||PM Ply||Plywood||1983||Shut down|
|15||Sevan Plastic||Woven Sacs||0200.00||1986||shut down|
|16||Thomas Industries||Soya Oil||0478.95||1987||shut down|
|17||Britannia||Toast / Biscuit||300.00||2009||operating|
Strengthening the education System
When Kamalnath was elected as Member of Parliament in 1980 there was only one post graduate college at Chhindwara, while there were only two private colleges. Also, for technical education there was only a polytechnic college at Khirsadoh. The students of nearby towns and villages used to go to Chhindwara for higher education. In the eighties, Sri Kamalnath successfully established degree colleges in 9 out of 11 development areas of the district. The Science University of Pandhurna and Saunsar were also started at this time. Moreover, his efforts also resulted in establishing of Govt. degree colleges in Lodhakhedi and Damua. Channelising all his efforts in this direction he also started a Law faculty and Ladies Degree College in the Chhindwara University.
Not only this, he also emphasized get further strengthen the school education system of the area. In the year 1980 there were 1387 primary schools for boys and 58 for girls, 192 middle schools for boys and 30 for girls, while 51 boys and 7 girls’ higher secondary schools were run by the department of education.
Kamalnath’s personal attention to increase the availability of basic education, resulted in increase of number of primary schools to 2834, number of middle schools to 865, high schools to 143 and higher secondary schools to 191. By the year 2003-04 every village had a primary school, one middle school for every two villages. While, a high school or a higher secondary school is present for every six villages.
Opening of CBSE schools branches at Chhindwara
In 1980 when Kamalnath became a parliamentarian there was only one CBSE school for children that too for the employees of coal mines only. To provide the same opportunity to children of state govt. employees and common people, Sri Kamalnath established two more central schools in Chhindwara and also got permission to open more central schools in Chaurai, Junnardev and Pandhurna. Today, Chhindwara is the only district in central India to have six central schools.
Not only this, he also initiated Navodaya Schools in 2005 in Umaria and in 2009 in Singardweep along with Eklavya residential schools. These schools imparted education to tribal students following the CBSE pattern. In 2006, Kasturba Girls Schools were started in the small towns of Harai, Kaparwadi, Ponnar, Tamia, Damua, Moredongari and Khamarpani. These special schools imparted education to tribal girls. Moreover, with the constant selfless efforts of Sri Kamalnath, a women polytechnic was also opened in Chhindwara.
Establishment of PMT & PET centers in Chhindwara
Before 1997, centers for medical and engineering entrance examinations were only at Capitals and regional headquarters, due to which the students had to stay in rented rooms to appear for these exams. Due to this students and their parents had to bear lot of financial problems and also mental tension. Looking into the plight of such students, Sri Kamalnath requested the state government to make exam centres at district headquarters. As a result Chhindwara and many other district headquarters now have centers for PMT and PET exams.
Free coaching for children
Kamalnath started knowledge points on the Teachers day of 2010 to educate young generation in subjects like English, Math and Science. In these knowledge points, students from class 6th to 10th receive free education, study material along with regular health checkup and free medications. The first knowledge point which started at Saunsar development area educated 4200 children in the year 2010 at 20 centers and 11410 children in 2011 at 52 centers. In 2012-13 9105 children registered for education. The fees of these knowledge centers is Rs 20/- per month. Thus children from economically week sector could stud y there. Also made them aware about their health, started de-addiction centers to keep these children away from drug addictions, all these centers are on line.
Making Chhindwara a new education hub
With the advent of financial liberalization in 1991, many private technical institutes and universities were established in Chhindwara. In 2009 the chairman of J P group Shri Manoj Gaur requested Sri Kamalnath to help him in starting a national level college- Jay Prakash Seva Sansthan, to impart technical education.
Kamalnath’s effort in training Chhindwara’s youth in I.T. (Information Technology)
In the era of globalization and economic liberalization, information technology (I.T.) has been attracting the youth for higher technical education. However, due to the lack of infrastructure and proper training, the youth had to migrate to metro cities to get professional degrees like, BBA, MBA, BE, ME etc.
Kamalnath realized the need of starting new age short term courses on management, computers and personality development in Chhindwara itself for the benefit of youth. With his contacts and efforts he convinced the leading company NIIT to start a district learning centre at Chhindwara. The first district level learning centre started on 19th Aug 2007 in Chhindwara. While one more branch was started at Badkuhi municipal office later. These centers are operating at “No Profit No Loss” basis and also provide scholarships to talented and needy students. In the last ten years NIIT has trained thousands of youths of this region. They are now working in companies like IBM, Infosys, HCL, Dell, Agies, and Wipro etc.
Providing platforms for new age career options
The youth, pursuing careers in the field of designing, had to move to metro cities for further training and education, as all the institutes were based there. But, Sri Kamalnath got an Apparel Design Institute started at Chhindwara on 31st Jan 2008, which made this employment generating course available locally.
By the year 2010, seven hundred and nine graduates from the Apparel Institute were employed at various garment manufacturing units. Four hundred and five graduates were employed by 2011 at the manufacturing units at Chhindwara. Whereas, an overall of 2000 trained youth from this institute were employed across the country.
Apparel institute is now operating in a new building at Imlikheda. Short duration courses are available at the Amarwada Tehsil branch of the institute and a branch is scheduled to open at Pandhrna from 8th March 2014.
Country’s sixth Foot-ware Design Development Institute established in Chhindwara
Under the ministry of commerce a total of seven Foot-ware Designing and Development Institutes are made since the inception of first institute in 1986. The FDDI at Chhindwara is the sixth institute among these. The other institutes are at Noida, Kolkata, Chennai, Raibarelly, Rohtak and Jodhpur.
Youth try hand to seek admission at Foot-ware institute as it has proven track record of guaranteed employment via campus placement. A national entrance examination is conducted for selection of candidates for admission into these institutes. Kamalnath has increased Chhindwara’s prominence by getting such an institute in the City.
FDII Chhindwara was inaugurated in 2010. Its first batch of 232 students graduated in year 2012. Youth of Chhindwara are also represented in employed graduates from this institute.
Motor Driving School Chhindwara
This is the love and affection of Kamalnath for Chhindwara and its development that irrespective of which ministry he lead at the central govt., he was always on the lookout of the central govt. schemes which can also be implemented at Chhindwara. One of such scheme aided in the opening of a driving school for training and development of commercial vehicle drivers. This project was executed by private and public sector participation.
As a result of Kamalnath’s effort, the famous Ashok Leyland Truck Company started a Motor Driving school at Linga. The Central Govt. has invested 15 Crores in this school. The utility of this school was described by Sri Kamalnath at the inauguration. He told the people that this school will generate employment for people as approximately 23 lack out of 90 lack trucks are grounded at depots due to a shortage of trained drivers.This motor driving school was inaugurated by Kamalnath on 18th Feb 2013.
Kamalnath’s role in recognizing diploma holders of Vishrampur
In 1975-76 under the aegis of WCL, Coal India opened a regional institute of Mining at Vishrampur to train mining engineers. Many students from Pench and Kanhan took admission here. By 1981 – 82 three to four batches had graduated from the institute but technical board of M.P. denied to recognize the degree. This made the future bleak for these students. When these students approached Sri Kamalnath, he requested the education ministry to recognize the Vishrampur Institute and due to his efforts Indian govt. recognized it from back date. Today many overmen from the region are diploma holders from this Institute.
Broad Gauge in Chhindwara
In 1905 the narrow gauge railway track was changed to broad gauge rail track till Parasiya, at the same time Nagpur's narrow gauge conversion was nearing completion. Along with this, Sri Kamalnath got funds approved in the 2009-10 Rail Budget, for conversion of Chhindwara-Nainpur narrow gauge railway line to broad gauge. Ministry of railways has initiated the work, and Sri Kamalnath made sure there were no issues in getting the environmental clearance and land acquisition from Chhindwara to Siwani. It is now certain that the narrow gauge railway line of Chhindwara will be history soon. Though the transportation facility at the northern region of Chhindwara, Harrai and Amarwada is not yet linked with railway but, Sri Kamalnath has got a survey approved in 2009 railway budget for the Khajuraho - Sagar, Amarpur, Harrai, Amarwada to Chhindwara sector. It is certain that sooner or later this work will start and then Chhindwara will be a busy railway junction linking North to South.
Kamalnath lead the expansion of railway facilities in Chhindwara
After his election as Member of Parliament in 1979 from Chhindwara, his biggest task was to fulfill the desires of the masses. These included fulfilling the long pending demand of narrow gauge railway line conversion to broad gauge, adding Pandurna as stoppage in express trains and improving the railway facilities at Parasiya railway station. He first tried to add Pandurna as stoppage of express trains, but the officials put down the proposal on the basis of number of tickets sale and stoppage time etc. But Sri Kamalnath constantly approached different corridors of the railway ministry and finally managed to get around sixteen express trains stopped at Pandhurna station. At the same time he got BP Wagon facility for businessmen which helped in transporting orange to various parts of the country at a discount of 40% in freight rate. He also fulfilled the public demand of Sri Dada ji's disciples and got a train service initiated from Nagpur to Khandawa via Pandhurna. In addition to this he got the Panchveli passenger extended to state capital Bhopal which provided additional travelling option by train to state capital.
A unique proposal for Parasiya to Chhindwara broad guage conversion
In 1991 when Kamalnath was inducted as a minister in union cabinet for the first time, he suggested the Yojana Ayog and Railway Board to sort out usable pieces of sleepers and rails for broad gauge conversion of Chhindwara - Parasiya region. He told them that it was only a 27 Km of track which needed conversion. He also requested very limited funds for the project. On experimental basis this low cost project was shown the green light in 1993. The project started in 1994 and by1996 Chhindwara district was linked to the state capital Bhopal by broad gauge. Not only this the unused funds of Parasiya - Chhindwara broad gauge project were later utilized to develop a goods loading / unloading center near Chhindwara station.This helped in getting a separate platform for loading and unloading goods away from passenger platform. This also helped in connecting county wide goods train network via Chhindwara.
Start of Nagpur - Chhindwara Broad gauge project
After adding Chhindwara to national broad gauge network Kamalnath started pushing for Chhindwara-Nagpur broad gauge conversion. He had the project named "Parasiya-Chhindwara-Nagpur" already sanctioned beforehand.
Chhindwara-Nagpur broad gauge conversion project kicked off on 14 May 2005 by the then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, under the name Broad Gauge Phase-2.
The train from Chhindwara connecting Jhansi and Gwalior
Sri Kamalnath got a biweekly train between Chhindwara and Jhansi flagged off on 13th Oct 2009. At this point of time, none would have guessed that it was the first step towards connecting Chhindwara to Delhi. After this, the Gwalior express was flagged off on 14th Aug 2010. The tremendous response of these two trains cleared the path of connecting Chhindwara to Delhi.
Express Train between Chhindwara to Sarai Rohilla (New Delhi).
The first train connecting Chhindwara to the national capital
The long awaited train connecting Chhindwara to Sarai Rohilla (New Delhi) was flagged off on 3rd Sep 2012 by the then Railway minister Mukul Rai in presence of Kamalnath. This train Patalkoat express plies daily between Chhindwara to New Delhi. This train has become a matter of pride for the residents of Chhindwara as it is one of the first such train to connect a small district to the national capital.
Kamalnath not only wanted to provide train facility to the residents of Chhindwara, he also wanted to ensure their ease of convenience, hence the train's destination was decided as Sarai Rohilla instead of New Delhi. Trains to New Delhi would have been over loaded and would have taken extra time to reach the station.
Three model stations planned between Chhindwara & Amla (Betul)
Kamalnath got approval to develop and upgrade the Chhindwara, Parasia and Junnardeo railway stations in order to provide modern facilities to the residents. A fund of Rs 80 lacs was sanctioned for Chhindwara tself. Both Chhindwara and Parasia stations were inaugurated by Kamalnath on 1st and 2nd March 2014 respectively.
Approval for Electrification of Railway line
The approval of electrification of the broad gauge railway line connecting Amla - Chhindwara - Nagpur sector in the 2012-13 railway budget was a result of Sri Kamalnath's relentless efforts. The project was inaugurated by the then Railway Minister Sri Mukul Rai on 3rd Sep 2012. This facilitated the electrification of Amla - Chhindwara sector while Chhindwara - Nagpur broad gauge conversion was going on.
The electrification of this railway route was important to address the issues faced on Sillevan Ghat area using diesel locomotives. It also opened up the possibility of connecting Chhindwara from Bhopal and Nagpur by express trains. This was equally important to realize the dream of having railway workshops and associated offices in Chhindwara, to generate direct and indirect employment for the youth.
Chhindwara station earning crores of revenue
As a result of Kamalnath's efforts, Chhindwara started earning revenue of crores of rupees after it's conversion to broad gauge rail track. In the year 2010-11, the revenue from passenger tickets was 97,175/- per day and freight earnings were 18,58,931/- per month. While, in 2011-12 Chhindwara's earning from passenger fare was on a record high of Rs. 7,32,39,678/- . Not only this, the total freight loaded from there was 28,727 tons parcel and 3.99 mt of goods, which earned a revenue of Rs. 1,88.01 crores.