Peter Beckingham

Peter Beckingham

Governor in Turks and Caicos Islands

Part of UK in India

22nd June 2012

A Tale of Two States: Part I

I had the opportunity recently to call separately on the Chief Ministers of two Western Indian States, Maharashtra and Goa. In most respects these states could not be more different but they are both important, in a variety of ways, to the UK.

The Chief Minister with British High CommissionerThe Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan, underlined one difference to the High Commissioner and I when he pointed out that his state, if it was a nation, would rank as one of the world’s top 12 most populous,  with over 110M citizens. The Chief Minister also pointed out that a great deal of Maharashtra is rural, and with the monsoon approaching (but currently too slowly) the State some 80 per cent of its agricultural land is dependent on a good season of rain for its crops, which include rice, cotton, grapes and much more.

But it is in Maharashtra’s cities that more of our interests lie, and the Chief Minister stressed the importance of international co-operation in developing new infrastructure. With an overall population around 18M, and a comparatively small land mass, Mumbai presents big challenges for the State. Unlike other major world cities, with mayors having substantial independent powers, most of the responsibility for new infrastructure rests with the State Government.

The Government has major plans to transform Mumbai’s landscape, especially in transport developments. These include a new International airport in Navi (new) Mumbai, some 30kms from South Mumbai, a new coastal road, a metro network including a 34 kms underground line from Colaba (downtown) to the  existing  Sahar airport, a Trans Harbour Sea Link, and much more. The British company Arup, which has had an office in Mumbai for several years and is working in India hard, is one of the companies advising on the harbour Sea Link.

Most of these developments are now firmly in the eyes of the State Government, and our office is talking to some  of the State’s most important agencies, like the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA),  the City and Urban Development Corporation (CIDCO),  as well as the Municipal Commissioner’s office, about possible UK involvement. Public Private Partnerships and funding from the Central Government as well as the State will all be used to help develop these initiatives, presenting more opportunities for UK involvement.

HRH The Duke of York in MumbaiIn addition the State Government has a range of plans to press forward with new public housing schemes to remove some of the many slums around Mumbai, which are an eyesore and much worse for those who have to live in them. The harshness of some of the conditions was highlighted in a recent book, “Behind  the Beautiful For Evers”, by New Yorker correspondent Katherine Boo, who spent three years living in one of the poorest areas near the airport. Boo paints a graphic account, in some places reading more like a novelist than a non-fiction writer, of the travails of everyday life. As she describes, and the Duke of York saw in a recent visit to Mumbai, many of the slums’ residents are extraordinarily adept at using their ingenuity, skill and sheer hard work to make a living even in the most unpromising conditions.

Education is one of the keys to enhancing developments in Mumbai and across Maharashtra, and the Chief Minister expressed his pleasure at the signing in June of an MOU with The British Council to work together to teach teachers in English Language training. With its 110M population, the majority of whom are under 30, the education requirements for the State are huge, but the British Council’s support, and the growing links between UK universities and state colleges, will hopefully make some difference as the Chief Minister and his Congress/NCP coalition grapple with their priorities of improving the State’s education, agriculture, infrastructure and housing.

Next stop Goa: where, with a population of less than 2M, the new Chief Minister faces a different set of challenges, and where our interests too in some respects overlap with those in Maharashtra, but others are different.

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3 comments on “A Tale of Two States: Part I

  1. Hi Mr.Peter,Good day sir.
    Its good to hear your interest and the work you are doing in India its really good to see how hard you are trying to build up a great trust between both the coutries it really makes me feel proud to say that you are doing a very good job sir,but Mr.Peter i would like to bring into your knowledge,how people in India and in the UK are spoiling this by mis-useing your name and the embassey to rob people of their money on the pretext of offering them jobs in the Uk and taking very huge amount of money from them which they cannot afford to pay but they still try to borrow the money just to secure a good future in UK so that they can give there family a good life,these people are useing all the names of your office staff includeing your’s so that people can trust them that they are not being fooled.
    I am also going through the same process where i have paid 40 lakhs just to secure a job visa in the UK.but still nothing has been done and the concerned person dealing with me calls himself Peter Beckingham and also says he works for the UK Embassey in Mumbai.

    I would like to request you Mr.Peter to try and make some rule or law so that poor people like me are not fooled of there hard earned money as it gives a bad name to your country as well as mine.It would be a great plight to see you doing something regarding this matter also,along with all the good work you are doing to build up great interest and trust between both the countries

    Thank’s

    Regard’s

    1. Dear Mr Chandan,

      We are sorry to hear about your case. It is a clear case of fraud. We regularly issue guidance on the matter of job, visa and lottery frauds. See our guidance on website:
      http://ukinindia.fco.gov.uk/en/about-us/our-high-Commission/working-for-us/JobsAndLottery130209/

      We are also running an anti-fraud campaign on our Facebook page: http://ht.ly/bNn3N

      Please contact the local police to lodge a complaint against the culprits.

      Regards,
      Peter

  2. Wonderful Peter.
    Well done!
    You’ve summed up the visit, and the essential points of Mumbai and Maharashtra, and Indo-British collaboration very well indeed.
    Cheers
    Sumit

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About Peter Beckingham

Before becoming Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands in October 2013, Peter was British Deputy High Commissioner to India, based in Mumbai, the commercial capital, where he had a…

Before becoming Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands in
October 2013, Peter was British Deputy High Commissioner to India, based
in Mumbai, the commercial capital, where he had a responsibility for
developing UK-India trade and investment. His earlier appointments have
included Consul-General and Director-General of Trade and Investment in
Sydney, and British Ambassador to the Philippines, where he initiated
the UK Government’s involvement in a peace process with the Philippine
Government and Muslim rebel groups.
Peter is married to Jill, a teacher of special needs, and they have
two grown up children. His outside interests include cricket, golf and
running.

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