West Bengal has to play a catch up: Jairam Ramesh

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, whose recent comments about his party`s ties with Trinamool Congress created a flutter.

Last Updated: Nov 24, 2011, 22:32 PM IST

New Delhi: Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, whose recent comments about his party`s ties with Trinamool Congress created a flutter, on Thursday, appeared to do a volte face saying, there was never a lack of "bonhomie"
between the Centre and West Bengal.

"I don`t think there is a lack of bonhomie. Bengal is
facing a very serious financial crisis. The Centre is
committed to the industrial development of Bengal, Uttar
Pradesh, Tamil Nadu...," he told reporters here at the event
which was also attended by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata
Banerjee.

Praising Banerjee for the commitment to the State`s
growth, Ramesh said the chief minister "has sketched out a
vision for a comprehensive restructuring of West Bengal and
infused completely a new life into a highly politicised
administration."

Ramesh had last week lashed out at the West Bengal
government after Banerjee had slammed Congress for taking out
an anti-government rally, saying his party had not taken
`political VRS` and had a right to do so in the state.

Sharing the dais with Banerjee during an interaction with
the industry, Ramesh said the West Bengal government should be
given time for the adjustment process to take place especially
after 35 years of "complete collapse of administration".

He said the state has a lot of catching up to do and has
to move twice faster to compete where it is.

"The magnitude of challenge before the honourable chief
minister is immense," he said, adding the chief minister has
to clean up the health and education system.

However, "as far as rural development is concerned, she
(Banerjee)has our full support. Already we have announced
several schemes for building up of rural roads in West
Midnapore. What earlier government did in 10 years, we are
going to accomplish in next two years," Ramesh said.

The ball is really in West Bengal`s court as far as rural
development is concerned, he underlined.

"Gone are the days when Centre would invest through
public sector companies...It is increasingly private sector
investment that is going to drive industrial growth in Bengal.

Where Centre can help is rural infrastructure, in logistics,
airports...," he said during the interaction with the industry
at the India International Trade Fair on the occasion of West
Bengal day celebration.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said the
chief minister is not only a dynamic leader, but also has a
vision to have inclusive growth, job generation and
sustainable development of the state.

"Long time the state has suffered kind of atmosphere
which prevented development to take place. When you travel...

you realise the damage done in three and half decades,
generations were deprived of opportunities...those dreams and
aspirations will be fulfilled and realised now," Sharma said.

He said that there will be investments in rural
infrastructure and agro-processing sectors. "Our post harvest
are unexpectedly high. What is lost will be added in the food
chain. It will create jobs in rural areas."

PTI