September 24, 2008

VC voice for industry cry

Issue Date: Tuesday , September 23 , 2008

Calcutta, Sept. 22: Vice-chancellors of the state’s leading universities today faxed an appeal to the government and all political parties to end the Singur impasse for the sake of Bengal’s youth.

Care was taken not to blame any political party, but while dwelling on Singur, the letter said: “Such obstacles to industrialisation cannot be imagined in any other state in India.”

Among the signatories were the vice-chancellors of Calcutta University, Jadavpur University and Rabindra Bharati University. The head of the Indian Statistical Institute and the chairman of the state higher education council also signed the letter.

Supporting the government’s drive, the vice-chancellors wrote: “The process of industrialisation that has started in Bengal is set to bring job opportunities to the young students in the state.

“Many of them, coming from poor and lower middle- class families, are waiting for these opportunities. The worst affected will be these young boys and girls if the process of industrialisation suffers.”

The letter said that if the right of the farmer to land was the main contention, an “acceptable solution” could have been reached by now.

“We appeal to the parties that instead of making it a political issue, they should allow the industrialisation process to progress in the interests of the youth of Bengal.”

The heads of the universities also dealt with the farmland-versus-industry debate, saying the argument about a threat to food security because of land acquisition had no merit.

“Fears that food security will be threatened in the state, when two to three per cent of the total land is being used for industry and infrastructure development, are baseless,” they said.

The academics also urged the government to adopt a clear policy of compensation and rehabilitation for the landlosers.

Swapan Pramanik, the vice-chancellor of Vidyasagar University, said institution heads held a meeting recently and took a decision to issue the appeal.

“The statement was prepared on the basis of a unanimous decision by all the vice-chancellors and pro-vice-chancellors,” Pramanik said.

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