You are taking credit for many projects that were either started or approved during the previous Congress regime Projects and schemes don’t belong to a particular party. They belong to the state and the nation. What really matters is which government shows enough will power to execute the projects. Parties come and go.
Your claim about Rs 1 lakh-crore investment gives an impression as if MP has become a favourite destination for investors overnight. Is it so?
There is a combination of factors that has made the State attractive to investors. To begin with, ours is a peaceful State. We have cheap labour and land. We also have a huge chunk of barren land for industrial use. Geographically, we are in the heart of India and exceptionally rich in mineral resources.
But these physical attributes existed even when the Congress was in power. But the Congress didn’t do much to exploit the attributes because its chief ministers lacked vision and will power.
Isn’t it true that industrialists have started eying MP since potential in other states are diminishing? Some states are grappling with Naxalism, others terrorism. In other industrialised states like Haryana, Punjab and Maharashtra there is a scarcity of land for new industrial units. Other basic resources are also dwindling.
Very true. But you must also give credit to the government for creating an investor-friendly environment. We chalked out a pragmatic industrial policy, offering a slew of incentives to investors. We convinced them about industrial peace and excellent work culture.
What is your personal contribution to all this?
I have no ego. I have been a labourer. Wherever I went whether in India or abroad, and whoever I met, I was polite but focussed on my goal. It is for nothing that a person like Lord Swraj Paul profusely praised me. Your friends in the UPA Government — Arjun Singh and Kamal Nath — also praise you.
In a democracy, you have to maintain good relations with every body for the sake of development. Because of my good relations with Kamal Nath, I was able to bring investment to MP worth Rs 16000 crore from the Centre. There is little difference in the Congress and the BJP, all hullabaloo on communalism notwithstanding. All governments want faster industrialisation in this age of globalisation.
Isn’t it also true that most of your ministerial colleagues are uncomfortable with your hyperactivism?
That may be true. If you work hard for welfare of the state some amount of jealousy among the colleagues is inevitable. I don’t care. I want to serve the State.
Was that why you accepted demotion?
Even if I were demoted to Santri from Mantri, I won’t mind. I just want to work
In the pursuit of investments, the BJP government seems to have forgotten interest of farmers …How?
For example, your own party’s leader Vikram Verma has raised objection to acquisition of 4000-hectare land for Rs 500-crore auto track facility in Pithampur
Farmers’ interests will be duly taken care of. They will be provided five percent more compensation than prevalent market rate of the land.
What will happen to the State’s plan to create more Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Gwalior and Bhopal? The Centre has asked State Governments to acquire only wasteland for SEZs.
MP has vast track of infertile land. So SEZ creation will pose no problem in the State.