“I can feed the population of the country. I can take precautions for the food security of the urban and rural population. But that is not the only important thing. Urbanisation is equally important,” said Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Saturday, at the International Conference on Healthy Cities in Pune.

“Urbanisation is an issue that every developing country is facing. It must be [handled] with adequate measures at the policy-making stage,” he said.

Mr. Pawar was unveiling a paper on the ‘Determinants of a Healthy City.' The conference was sponsored by Amanora City Corporation Limited, whose chairman Aniruddha Deshpande is known to be a close aide of Mr. Pawar.

Mr. Deshpande, along with Mr. Pawar's daughter and son-in-law, was one of the earliest promoters of the multi-crore project. Before being named Lavasa Corporation in 2004, the project was called Pearly Blue Lake Resorts Pvt. Ltd., with Mr. Deshpande, Vitthal Maniyar, and Aniruddha Seolekar as its first directors. Mr. Pawar's daughter, Supriya Sule, and her husband Sadanand Sule held a 21.97 per cent stake in Lavasa City Corporation from 2002 to 2004.

Mr. Pawar's statement on the need for urbanisation comes weeks after he came out in favour of the beleaguered Lavasa project in Pune.

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