In a lead story in today’s ABP (March 5), we’re informed that there was no need of hurry in acquiring land in Nandigram for the proposed chemical hub. The reasons given are quite plausible.
Salim Group, with which the government has an agreement for the chemical hub and host of other infrastructure projects, will first build a 100 km expressway from Barasat to Raichak, then build a bridge over the Hooghly to Kukrahati, then another bridge over river Haldi before an SEZ is built in Haldia.
Only after that is the plan to build the chemical hub in Nandigram. All these will easily take 15 years before Nandigram’s turn comes. The question is, if so, why did Haldia Development Authority issue notification for land acquisition in Nandigram?
Is it that HDA did not know the plan? Or, is it that HDA knowingly issued the notification for some other purpose? It is noteworthy that CM has publicly denounced the notification, and in fact has asked the concerned authorities to tear it off.
It’s no secret that industrialization is needed that can come up on farmlands only. But perhaps there is some truth that armed with pro-industry mandate in last elections, what the government is doing leaves the impression that there are more than what plain eyes can see.
Which is why there is now talk of ‘transparency’ in the whole process. The news report says that the government plans to prepare a roadmap of industrialization, evaluate the total ‘land bank’ that gives a bird’s eye view of land utilization over the length and breadth of the state, and lastly put forth a compensation policy for those who will be loosing lands and houses.
It’s early days yet in West Bengal’s industrialization revival. For too long did nothing worthwhile happen in the state, and the decay is apparent everywhere. To come out of this self-created morass, the government must tread with caution. Election mandate cannot be the only weapon with which to force issues on the people, especially those who are vulnerable.
There has to be near unanimity in the direction being taken even as the main opposition party is bent upon obstructing every plan of improvement.