Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Aug 30, 2005
Industry & Economy
Agri-Biz & Commodities - Agricultural Policy
`Multi-crop farmlands won't be acquired for setting up industries': West Bengal CM
The West Bengal Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, addressing presspersons in Kolkata on Monday. A. Roy Chowdhury
Kolkata , Aug. 29
THE West Bengal Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, has sought to allay apprehensions expressed by some of his partners in the Left Front regarding his efforts to attract investment from Singapore and Indonesia while on a recent visit to the two countries.
Speaking to presspersons here, Mr Bhattacharjee said it was but natural for people to be apprehensive over his reported statements pertaining to foreign direct investment in West Bengal in general and acquisition of agricultural land for industrial purposes in particular.
To allay unfounded fears in this regard, he has requested the Chairman of the Left front, Mr Biman Bose, to convene a meeting of Left front partners so that he could explain his stand in detail.
Mr Bhattacharjee outlined the proposed investment plans of Indonesia's Salim Group and the Bakhri Group. These include the setting up of a two-wheeler plant in Uluberia, a township in western Howrah and a logistics hub and a health city, among others, by the Salim Group.
The Bakhri Group has proposed to set up a coal mixing plant using good quality coal from Indonesia and low-quality coal from India. It has also proposed to set up a rubber tyre plant.
Mr Bhattacharjee clarified that since 65 per cent of the people in West Bengal were dependent upon the agriculture sector, care would be taken to ensure that multi-crop farmlands were not acquired for industrial purposes. Only farmlands that have single cropping would be given for industrialisation purposes, albeit after payment of compensation to farmers and share croppers and after offering them rehabilitation packages.
He said there was no question of compromising on the state's food security and the interests of the horticulture and floriculture sectors.
Stating that the time had come for all to "reform, perform or perish", Mr Bhattacharjee said West Bengal had shown the way for land reforms and reforms of public sector undertakings. It was now focusing on public-private partnership. "This is not against Marxism, which is a science and not a dogma. We have to learn from our experiences and move ahead", he said.
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