labels: economy - general
Farmers agitation stalls West Bengal''s industrialisation drive for three monthsnews
24 February 2007

Kolkata: Former chief minister Jyoti Basu said in Kolkata today that West Bengal government would postpone its ongoing industrialisation drive for three months to take up an extensive campaign to convince people that industries would not be promoted at the cost of agriculture.

Basu said, "The industrialisation drive has been postponed for three months. During this time, our party activists and those of our mass organisations will go to the people and convince them that industrialisation would not take place at the cost of agriculture."

He said that there had been a misunderstanding on the issue of SEZs, which could have been avoided if "we had convinced the people. The campaign should have been undertaken much earlier."

Left Front chairman and CPI(M) state secretary Biman Bose, however, said there was neither a decision to postpone the industrialisation drive, nor to go overboard with it.

Asked whether the non-placement of the West Bengal Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2006, before the assembly would affect the state's industrialisation process, Basu replied in the negative. "I have heard that it is difficult to place the bill in the assembly. Perhaps it is not coming. But it will not affect industrialisation."

The three other front majors -- the CPI, Forward Bloc and RSP -- had said yesterday that they were against SEZs and the move to relax the land ceiling act to enable acquisition of larger land holding for industry.

Asked whether the bill would be placed before the house, Bose said it was upto the government to take a decision on it.

The bill, which sought to raise land ceiling for SEZs and new generation industries, had faced stiff opposition from the front allies CPI, Forward Bloc and RSP. The bill is at present with the Assembly Select Committee.

On the Centre giving clearance to Rs2,250 crore in FDI by the Indonesia-based Salim group for infrastructure projects in the state, Basu said, "It is good that the Centre has given clearance."

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Farmers agitation stalls West Bengal''s industrialisation drive for three months