Pawar an experienced leader whose contribution can't be ignored: CM Shinde

Pawar an experienced leader whose contribution can't be ignored: CM Shinde
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Pune: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Saturday praised Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar, saying his contribution to the cooperative sector cannot be ignored.

Shinde was speaking at the 46th annual general meeting of the Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI) in Pune, where Pawar shared the dais with him. Pawar is the chairman of the VSI.

"Pawar is an experienced leader at the state and national level. His contribution to the cooperative sector is huge and cannot be ignored," the chief minister said.

In the interest of the people and welfare of the state, Pawar is always available for guidance and suggestions to whoever is in power, he said. "He often calls me over the telephone to make suggestions and give advice," Shinde said. Notably, Shinde and his supporting MLAs had rebelled against Shiv Sena leadership and questioned party chief Uddhav Thackeray's decision of joining hands with the NCP and Congress to form a government in the state. The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) dispensation headed by Thackeray collapsed following the rebellion and Shinde became the chief minister on June 30 last year.

CM Shinde said the cooperative sector has played an important role in the country's development and realising its importance, the Centre has set up a separate ministry for the sector. "The central government has assured full support to the cooperative sector in Maharashtra," he said. Shinde also lauded the cooperative sector for following its social responsibility even during the time of crisis and not just focusing on profit or loss. The chief minister said his government was committed to protecting the interests of the cooperative sector. A total of 2.5 lakh hectares will be brought under irrigation in the next few years, he said. Speaking on the occasion, Pawar said the need of the hour is to focus on the production of products other than sugar to strengthen sugar factories and make them economically strong.

"Additional sugar should be used for ethanol production," he felt. Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, Shinde said the state government will provide good infrastructure and subsidies to investors seeking to set up industries in the state. "Investors in Davos expressed interest in India and Maharashtra and are confident that we are investor-friendly as there is a lot of scope for Investment," he said. Shinde also said that he would answer critics through his work. Speaking about Pawar, he said when the NCP chief was a union agriculture minister, he introduced several reforms in the sector and his contribution in the cooperative sector is immense.

"I spoke what is true," he said.