The statehood demand for Vidarbha is very old and even Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was in favour of creating such smaller states, his grandson said on Tuesday.

“The great Dalit leader had made a strong plea for smaller states in the country and submitted a detailed memorandum to the Fazal Ali Commission in 1955 on the issue of smaller states including Vidarbha,” Prakash Ambedkar who also heads Bhartiya Republican Party Bahujan Samaj (BRPBS) told PTI.

He said Babsaheb had appeared for the hearings of the first State Reorganisation Commission headed by Fazal Ali way back in 1955 in Delhi to convince the Commission (on the issue), which later recommended creation of Vidarbha state.

“Babasaheb died shortly after the historic Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Day here. Had he been alive for some more years, he could have certainly pursued the issue with Central leadership on the statehood issue,” Mr. Prakash said.

Babasaheb in his memorandum had contended that smaller States would bring in more responsibility and prosperity.

The former MP, who is leading the separate Vidarbha movement here, is presently collecting data and statistics to justify the economic viability of new state of Vidarbha.

On the economic viability of Vidarbha, Mr. Prakash said according to rough estimates, the revenue collection from Vidarbha is approximately Rs 14,000 crores besides Rs 5,000 crores from thermal power generation.

The overall Central taxes collection of Maharashtra were estimated to be around Rs 28,000 crores including that from Vidarbha. If separate Vidarbha is created, the new State will get its share from the central kitty.

Moreover, the Finance Commission gives grants to new States, he added.

Also, royalty from coal and other minerals will come to Vidarbha, Mr. Prakash who has earlier represented Akola in Parliament, asserted.