Kolkata: Scotching speculation that his
government would go slow on industrialisation in West Bengal
if it returns to power after Nandigram and Singur fiascoes,
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Wednesday emphasised that
the process of industrialisation cannot be reversed.
He said there was apprehension in the minds of people and
in the corridors of industry post Singur and Nandigram about
the future of industrialisation in the state.
"It is a must for creation of jobs. In fact, we have to
give more thurst to industrialisation. We have to do it by
consolidating the agricultural growth," he told a press
Dismissing suggestion that industry has stopped coming to
the state, the chief minister said the state on the contrary
had received the highest amount of investment last year in the
last five-year span.
An amount of Rs 15,000 crore had been invested in the
state, most of it in the steel sector followed by
petrochemicals, IT, food processing and others, he said.
All the same, Bhattacharjee sounded a note of caution:
"We have to be careful. As far as possible land has to be
acquired on the basis of consensus. If the farmers do not want
to give land, no land would be taken and taking farmland for
industries would be avoided."
He said about 8,100 acres of land had been acquired for
industry since the agitation at Singur.
He alleged an atmosphere of fear had been created by
opposition parties who are `getting impatient to come to
power` and resorting to violence to do so.
"We want to defeat Maoists who are causing harm. But the
main opposition party is co-operating with them. Many people
have talked to me and they are fearful of any prospect of
Trinamool Congress coming to power.
I have told them to remain assured that it will not
happen. Trinamool will never be able to form the government,"
he said. Rejecting suggestions that Muslims are better off in
Gujarat than in West Bengal, he said the two states cannot be
compared. "In our state the minorities live in peace and
harmony. In Gujarat they live in fear and mistrust."
He was also emphatic while answering a question on Singur
that a factory would indeed come up there once the Left Front
government returned to power.
"The land at Singur, where Nano project was to come up,
still belonged to the Tatas. We will decide at the appropriate
time," he said while answering a question whether there is a
possibility of the Tatas setting up an automobile factory at
He said the Tatas and the state industries department
maintain contact with each other. Though admitting that West
Bengal was facing a serious debt burden to the tune of Rs 2
lakh crore, he wondered why his state was being singled out.
"Why only West Bengal? This is a problem being faced by
other states too. Look at Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Even
the central government had a debt burden of Rs 49 lakh crore.
He said one of the major achievements of the Left Front
government was the `success story` in the IT sector with more
and more companies setting up their units.
He said in the next two years there would be 2.5 lakh
employment in the IT sector at the IT hub at Rajarhat near