Nityanand Pandey & Ankita Mishra
Dr. Prashant Narnaware is an IAS officer of 2008 batch; He is serving as a Collector, Palghar. He was born and brought up and did his graduation from Government college at Nagpur. He is doctorate in Health Policy. He worked in a health department for some period at Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh; meanwhile He gave the IAS exam and joined the service in 2009. He was Collector Osmanabad where he dealt with Drought and Farmer suicide issues and achieved a great success. Now as Collector Palghar he is dealing with issues like Malnutrition, Child deaths, Infrastructure development and coastal security. In an exclusive interview with India Unbound Magazine, Dr. Prashant Narnaware shared his experience at various postings & duties.
Share with us about your school and college days and where you born and brought up?
I was born and brought up at Nagpur. I did my graduation from Government collage at Nagpur. I did my PG and proceeded for Ph.D in Health Policy. I worked in a health department for some period at Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh; meanwhile I gave the IAS exam and joined the service in 2009.
Did you always wanted to become an IAS Officer?
I wanted to become a doctor. I wanted to serve people through my medical knowledge. Later on when I achieved that target I thought that being in administration I can serve the social cause to greater extent. IAS being a prime public service, naturally it was my choice to join IAS.
What are memories of your IAS batch? Do you still meet your batch mates?
Yes I still meet my batch mates. Being an IAS it gives you an all India view. You have friends across the services in India. That bond of friendship once we join the service always remains and we continue to have it.
As you pursued Ph. D on Role of Human resources in Hospital administration, you also were a teacher at Chanakya Academy in the capital. Then How & Why you chose to become an IAS?
I wanted to serve people at a greater extent. I decided to give an IAS exam and I achieved it. I feel very happy when I look back to my career that I could make substantial changes wherever I was posted. With whatever dream I joined, if I continue to process that dream I can attain high fulfilment.
What was the experience as a collector Osmanabad?
As a collector Osmanabad we were having several challenges. The first challenge was Drought and second was Farmer suicides. I was there for 3 and half years, almost all the 3 years we had severe drought. The Last year being the Sever most year of drought, we have taken up 21 thousand works under Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyaan. Our model of Jalyukt Shivar was not only limited to conservation of water or restoration of water our model also include using less water in agriculture so we could go for drift, sprinkler along with the 19 type of water conservation structure. We could also go for water conservation techniques in agriculture like sprinkle, drift, use of BBF which will do water conservation and at the same time successfully we pursued farmer to change the crop pattern, so we were having almost 42 thousand hectors of sugarcane in our district, such a drought district having sugarcane consuming lot of water was not good.
We ran a campaign called as beyond a sugarcane campaign with the help of Kushal Vigyan Kendra this became extremely successful. We came up with a solution that instead of sugarcane some other crop should been grown which will give better income to farmers and will consume less water, so that the farmers can shift from sugarcane to other crop like soya beans, tuar etc. that helped us to reduce 42 thousand hectors of sugarcane to 25 thousand in a span of 7 months and in next year we had only 10 thousand hectors of sugarcane. This campaign was widely acknowledged by the state government & even Hon. Chief Minister also counted it as one of the successful models. Hon. Chief Minister Rajasthan also came to know about our entire project and requested me and secretary of water conservation Mr. Prabhakar Deshmukh to come there and explain our model. Our model was modified as per the need of Rajasthan and launched their irrigation program on our model it was one of the success for Osmanabad as other state adopted it. Secondly at the time I left we were not having a single tanker year before I left there were more than 450 tankers attiring almost 1011 Hamlets & villages that we could cover. It was a very severe drought but we countered that effectively.
We provided water through tankers because of our micro planning we had done we were able to give water sufficiently to the people, second aspect of drought was scarcity of water for that we have open more than 100 Chara Chavanies almost 1 lakhs animals were given fodders through it for almost 6 months, this was a great challenge that without allowing anybody to involve in any kind of mall practice maintain complete transparency and providing the fodder to animals was a great experience and learning for me how to handle such crisis situation like drought.
Second was farmer suicide, for this I came up with an idea of farmer group movement. Under this movement we gathered farmers taking similar crops in a farmers group. In a span of 3 years we gathered two lakh eighty eight thousand farmers. Almost Three lakh thirty three farmers were there in which two lakh eighty eight thousand farmers were brought together. Forty thousand Six hundred farmer groups were formed; fifty eight private limited companies of farmers were formed. One seed company was formed to produce seed for our farmers because in 2015 we saw that we imported soya bean seed of almost 55 cr from Uttar Pradesh, So we thought to have our own seed company owned by farmer themselves. We were able to do this with the help of Parbhani Agriculture University Professor Venkateshwar, he was very kind and he helped us. We formed our company and then today with almost thirty companies coming together of Osmanabad and nearby district, and today farmers are running there companies on their own. We had several clusters, four and half crores rupees were given and sanctioned by Commissioner Industries, and we have Khova clusters to go for processing of milk and then making it into khova and then selling it will increase the value and that will give more money to farmers. We have 5 brand of companies of Milk, these all companies are very small where in farmers are coming together they are pulling it together then processing it and packaging it themselves and selling it in nearby market. Farmers previously use to get 18 or 19 Rupees per litres but now this companies of farmers itself sell in market 45 to 46 Rupees per litres to customers and out of that almost 34 to 35 Rupees are paid to farmers and the remaining amount is kept for the operational cost. It’s almost a count of jump; it was a very successful modal. Hon Chief Minister again was very kind to see our model. Now this have become a State Government policy, today Government of Maharashtra have come up with Agriculture cluster model and each cluster will now be given 1 Crore rupees by State Government It is a great success for me.
What are the major challenges you are facing as Collector Palghar?
The challenges are multifarious, first is we have to pursue to Government for creation of different government offices. Almost out of 63 district level offices 30 offices are already created rest are required to be established, so that is one of the challenge. Another challenge is to create a new township all together. Hon. Chief Minister was kind enough to give us time in this month and he would like to do Bhoomi Pujan of New Palghar township which we call as Palghar NavNagar & in that township we will be having SP Office Collector Office Staff quarters bungalows 2 administrative buildings and also we will be having certain area which will be commercially developed by CIDCO. This entire township will be developed by CIDCO.
Apart of that we have a lot of tribal area so Forest Right act Implementation, Governmental Right act Implementation, JFM coastal security, malnutrition, livelihood, fisherman, forest conservation are the big challenges we are facing.
Where you would like to see Palghar District in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years Palghar is going to grow into a well-developed city. We are having DFCC project, National Highway is going to get expanded, Bullet train is going to come. Palghar is one of the district where we are going to have two stations of Bullet train. We have big industrial area. One of biggest MIDC`s we have Boisar Tarapur MIDC. Palghar industries, Wada industries are coming up. At the same time even we have to see that low cost housing should be implemented. We are also planning Wadwan international port which will be jointly developed by JNPT & Maharashtra maritime board for which we require permission by Dharmaadhikari committee which is established by Supreme Court of India. We also want to see the tribal people get empowered; I want Palghar should be developing district with a human face.
Palghar is a backward and also tribal area. Do you find any difficulties while communicating & working with them?
No, I don`t find any difficulties, the reason is once you know what they want and once you are interested in tribal population & their welfare. When I show my affection they give me lot of love and respect. That bond between us does not create any difficulties.
Sand mining & mafias business is also in full swing in Palghar, Vasai & Virar. What is your plan to control such mafias and generate revenue to government?
That was big challenge when I joined. Especially certain illegal activities and sand mining’s were going in areas of Vasai, Palghar which are there on sea shore & we successfully combated that. We had several raids, during the raid one of our officers was attacked, we registered an offence against those people. I myself went on raid once with entire machinery and captured almost 53 trucks. More than 2 crore rupees of fine were levied because of our strict action. Now there are many people who are ready to take up our auction, and recently we had an auction. It is to be noted that earlier from last 7 to 8 years no one was coming for our auction but now because our action everything is changed.
What is your expectation from our Hon. CM as a collector Palghar for better infrastructure?
Right from the beginning our Hon. CM is very positive. It is because of his vision that Palghar could be developed into a self-aligned modern district with the human face. As soon as we decided to do the bhoomi pujan of Palghar NavNagar, He was very excited and called me personally. I briefed him everything and instantly he gave time and instructed that in within one year few buildings should be completed and whatever target he has given to us, I feel we will fulfill that target. Regarding malnutrition, health minister is also coming up with a great help, he is constantly touring our district with the local officials and also with me and even we were able to reduce the level of malnutrition and child deaths.
As Palghar is a new district here there is shortage of infrastructure, yet there is no collector office or bunglows provided to you people and even your half of the work is done at thane, how you manage your work?
For the new district these things are bit natural, it takes time to establish. It’s easy to demand any district but coming up with a district is a very big challenge for administration. As it takes time we cannot make people to suffer & therefore we are having certain offices which work from Palghar as well as thane. I made compulsory to all officers to attend my meetings, which really helped me to make the officers responsible for the field level execution. We just want to do is work extra and if we are ready to do extra, we can solve the issues.
Palghar is a district with forest, coastal & urban area. How you are managing to communicate with entire Palghar being a collector?
Palghar has different challenges. The variety of work is different and bit challenging, however if it’s perfectly planned and our priorities are of rural development, tribal development than security of coastal area & fisherman and also industrial development and urban housing. As our priorities are very clear it is very easy to deal with the concern officials of that area. As a bureaucrat we are expected to deal with variety & give people the results.
Malnutrition is the major problem & as there is lack of medical facilities in your area, what are your plans to improve such issues?
Malnutrition is a big challenge. Child death is the challenge, we have mapped the entire child deaths and malnutrition cases and we have divided the district into three categories i.e. Severe, Moderate and sensitive category due to which we can identify the local issues & solve those challenges. Migration is the main issue, for which we have tried it to solve with certain camps, which we organize. At the same time we have decided to track these migrants, so that we can communicate with their respective heads, if those people are facing any problem they can get help. We have requested to the state government for the portability of their ration cards, if that is done it will be a great help. Also we want livelihood development. The methods like Poultry, MRAGF if are provide to them it will solve the issue. We want to convert livelihood and malnutrition by giving poultry to tribal people and then purchasing those eggs from them and giving it to malnutrition people in aganwadi and ashram schools.
As there is a lot land related disputes by the land grabbers in Nalasopara, Vasai – Virar areas. illegal constructions, load bearing buildings are sold to poor people and they are cheated, being a collector how will you control such crimes?
If any such complaints are received we deal them very specifically. Certain issue of non-agriculture or other things we try it to simplify, so that the level of corruption is reduced and common man if he wants to convert his land into NA and then want to build up that should be facilitated. As far as land mafias are concerned, whenever such kind of things are brought to our notice we take strict action against them.
Who is your role model?
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is my role model.
Which sport do you like?
I like playing Badminton.
How you spend your leisure time?
I go for tracking and I read books on Administration, law, social issues, history and biography.
What is your future aspiration?
My future aspiration is that how I can become the best in whatever work is given to me.
What message would you like to spread the students who aspire to become an IAS or IPS?
I want to tell them that – this is a paid social service. There is no service in India which will provide you such a great power to change and transform the life’s of people and earn such great respect among all sections. If somebody is looking to service people on a greater extend so it is one of the best service.
What message would you like to spread to your department & citizens of Palghar through India Unbound?
Governance is not something which can only be done by bureaucrats or politicians. When we say, we all are citizens and citizens are different then subjects. Subjects are the people who are getting ruled by royalty but citizens are those who are full participant in the political activities and in act of governance; therefore we all have to come together to do our own work in a better way in whatever we are doing, we can all bring India to a greater heights.