Chandrapur district of Maharashtra is known for its coal mines. The district has 27 mines, which explains the moniker Black Gold City. Full of mineral and forest wealth, it is a tribal-dominated area where life is hard because of Naxalite insurgency. Health, education and employment were amiss. However, Chandrapur has been transformed in recent past.
The district, which was earlier in a dismal condition, is thriving today. This has been possible due to Shri Sudhir Mungantiwar, former Finance, Forests and Planning Minister of Maharashtra, and his CSR initiatives. When the first BJP government was formed in Maharashtra, Mungantiwar took over the finance ministry. Mungantiwar understood the power of corporate social responsibility. Being the guardian minister of Chandrapur, he brought many development projects to the district.
Here are a few of the landmark initiatives by the visionary politico.
Bamboo Research and Training Centre (BRTC)
Chandrapur in Maharashtra is a major centre for bamboo production. People traditionally use bamboo in their daily life. The need to link the bamboo-based industry with state-of-the-art technology was long overdue. Sudhir Mungantiwar, with the help of the CSR of Tata Trusts, started the Bamboo Research and Training Centre at Chichapalli in Chandrapur as the State’s forest minister. The imposing global bamboo building in Chichapalli is nearly complete. The Bamboo Handicraft and Art Units operated by BRTC will provide skill development and employment to the local populace. There is a huge demand for tricolours and other gift items made here. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has appreciated the tricolours from this centre.
Chandrapur Cancer Care Hospital
In India, 1.2 million people suffer from cancer every year, of which 8 lakh die from this dreaded disease. The population of Chandrapur district is around 23 lakhs, which is increasing at the rate of 0.6% every year. Mungantiwar, in collaboration with Tata Trusts and the Government of Maharashtra, has set up a world-class state-of-the-art Cancer Hospital in Chandrapur.
This hospital called Chandrapur Cancer Care Foundation is nothing less than a boon for Central India. People in and around the district will no longer have to go to Mumbai or other big cities for cancer treatment. Chandrapur Cancer Care Hospital will provide quality healthcare to the patients of Nagpur, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli districts bordering Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states. Apart from the cancer hospital, a 640-bed medical college is also being built in Chandrapur.
Incense Sticks Industry
Religious devotees across India take the name of Ponbhurna with reverence. The reason is that this tehsil in Chandrapur is where the agarbattis for most pilgrimage sites and holy temples come from. With the help of corporate social responsibility and ITC Limited, Mungantiwar has spearheaded an agarbatti making industry in Pombhurna. Women working in these incense making factories are examples of PM Modi’s ‘Vocal for Local’ dream. The agarbatti units have not only given them skills but also new hope. They have changed the lives of 300 incense makers. In Chandrapur alone, there are 7 incense making projects.
The plain and inconspicuous toothpick was nowhere to be seen on traditional Indian dining tables since we are more accustomed to gargling than picking our teeth after meals. However, the proliferation of restaurants and the culture of eating out brought with it a huge demand for toothpicks. Despite enough manpower to produce our own toothpicks, our supplies are imported from other countries, especially Taiwan.
To enable India to make toothpicks and become Atmanirbhar in this regard, Mungantiwar started the toothpick project in the village of Pombhurna in Chandrapur, with CSR funding of Rs. 1 crore from Tata Trusts. Not only does it generate employment for the local women and promote women empowerment, but it has also made Chandrapur the second-biggest domestic producer of this product after Assam. The toothpicks manufactured here are supplied to 5-star hotels.
Diamond Cutting Centre
The Diamond Cutting Centre was started by Sudhir Mungantiwar in order to provide employment to youth in Aspirational District Gadchiroli and Chandrapur district. Young men from Vidarbha flee to Surat and Mumbai in large numbers to do diamond cutting work. This centre prevents their migration and offers them the same jobs in their own home towns.