March 21, 2009

West Bengal yet to receive centre’s formal approval on chemical hub

KOLKATA, 18 Mar 2009: The West Bengal government has not yet received an official communication on the recent Union Cabinet clearance for the proposed Nayachara chemical hub. This was indicated by West Bengal’s commerce & industry minister Nirupam Sen in the state Assembly on Wednesday.
Replying to a question by opposition leader Partha Chatterjee, the state industry minister said: "There is no immediate possibility of laying the foundation stone for the proposed hub. We have not yet received clearance from the environment department for the said chemical hub and there is no real difference between the chemical hub and the Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR). "I have read in newspapers that the Union Cabinet has given the green signal to the Nayachara chemical hub. But they (the Union government) have not yet informed us in writing," Mr Sen pointed out.
He added that the proposed chemical hub would come up on 250.19 acres and 40 per cent of the land would be used for chemical units. Mr Sen reiterated that 12 lakh people would get direct and indirect employment at the proposed hub which will produce polythene, auto components, synthetic rubber and synthetic fibre which will be used by the garments industry. The Union Cabinet at its last meeting on February 23 had reportedly cleared the proposed chemical hub at Nayachara. The Cabinet session was presided over by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee as the Prime Minister was then indisposed.
Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress has already announced that it will not allow the proposed hub to come up in the pear-shaped Nayachara island near Haldia. Party chief Mamata Banerjee who held an election rally in Nandigram on March 14, had made it clear that her party would not welcome the chemical hub at Nayachara. In fact, the Trinamool Congress candidate from the Kanthi Lok Sabha seat, who also addressed the gathering on March 14, announced that they would everything it took to prevent the Nayachara chem hub from taking off.
However, it is nearly certain that the state government will not step on the gas in expediting the Nayachara venture as Lok Sabha elections have already been announced. But the government might indeed take up the issue after election results are out and the new government in Delhi is formed.

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