December 15, 2008

‘Opposition in West Bengal irresponsible’

Improve infrastructure to attract FDI: Buddhadeb

KOLKATA, 13 December, 2008: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Saturday said an “irresponsible Opposition was opposing everything for the sake of opposition and ultimately the people of the State will suffer.”

Presiding over the 69th annual session of the Indian Roads Congress (IRC), he said: “I am facing problems in land acquisition, as an irresponsible Opposition is opposing everything. But I assure you that we are in dialogue with the Opposition.”

Mr. Bhattacharjee said this in response to a comment by Union Minister of State for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways K.H. Muniyappa, while inaugurating the session.

The Union Minister said land acquisition was proving to be a problem in the State. Projects started in 2001 could not be completed due to problem over land acquisition over a four or five km stretch. “I seek the support of the West Bengal government and people to complete roads for the country’s development.”

The Chief Minister said that in the current financial meltdown, infrastructure would perhaps be the only sector that would not be hit and he had been advised by the Reserve Bank of India Governor “not to miss this chance.”

“It is high time we improved infrastructure,” Mr. Bhattacharjee said, adding that unless India improved infrastructure, it would fail to attract foreign direct investments.

“It is through infrastructure that China has attracted FDI.” He exhorted the 2,000-strong gathering of delegates to discuss ways to improve road connectivity in India, in the backdrop of the global financial crisis to compete with China.

Noting that the United Progressive Alliance government was trying to complete the golden quadrilateral project started by the National Democratic Alliance government, he said it was important to connect sea and airports. Otherwise, international trade would suffer.

Mr. Muniyappa said the IRC was set up in 1934 as the premier body of highway engineers. To enable rural people, cyclists, pedestrians and tractor drivers to use the network, the Centre had approved the creation of service roads alongside the six and four-lane highways, especially where there was a concentration of rural people.

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