Referring to the unseasonal rains in December in parts of Maharashtra, Thackeray said, “Climate change is real and it is important for us to look around and understand that this would not be sustainable for long.”
He said it was important to understand that while one could enjoy a cold rainy morning in the city, it was also crucial to realise that on stepping out of city life, is it good for the farmers, is it good for the food we get, is it sustainable as a lifestyle for the people, from planning city infrastructure.
“All of this happens according to the seasons. Most of our agrarian produce, most of our GDP is dependent on the monsoons. But when monsoons start becoming erratic how does one depend on it? Because if it is raining in December and January, will it be back again in June? Have the agricultural and sowing seasons changed? So all of this is really in climate change,” the minister said.
Thackeray said that the government was focused on developing Mumbai as a financial lead city, one which was on its way to gradually become central to India’s rise in the Indian Ocean and beyond.
“Development and environment can go hand in hand provided it is sustainable development,” he said.
The minister added that India too needs its own Blue Imperative for coastal cities, marine resources, blue economy, one that puts coastal cities as the primary stakeholder in regional geopolitics and geo-economics.
On a question about electric vehicles (EV) charging station infrastructure being developed, Thackeray reiterated that 30 per cent of the vehicles in Maharashtra will be EVs by 2025.
“People of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane will see charging infrastructure come up on a large scale over the next 15-20 months. Range anxiety and charging time have already gone down considerably, while charging is being standardised globally. The Kala Ghoda, Bombay High Court area will have five charging stations,” he said responding to questions on the issue.
Thackeray also said that the government had placed orders for 2,100 electric buses for Mumbai, while the public transport bus fleet of Pune, Nagpur, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Nashik will also be fully electric.
Maharashtra will have a 50 per cent electric bus fleet by 2025 and it will be 100 per cent by 2027. From April 2022 onwards every new government vehicle to be purchased or rented will be electric, he added.
Replying to a question on tourism, Thackeray said that tourists are usually attracted to locations either for an excellent property or an experience.
“This is the space we are focused on. We are creating infrastructure; the licenses needed have been reduced from 80 to 10 to promote ease of doing business. Exploring Maharashtra through various treks is being developed as beach shacks along the Konkan coast,” the minister said.