May 2, 2009

Socio-Economic Development of West Bengal to continue:Chief Minister

KOLKATA: A meeting on “Socio-Economic Development of West Bengal” organized by Calcutta Citizens’ Initiative (CCI) was held on 28th April,Tuesday at G.D. Birla Sabhagar. The main speaker was Shri Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal. People from various walks of life, joined the meeting including Shri R M Kapoor (Town Planner), Shri Subodh Sarkar (Poet), Shri Barry O’Brien (Journalist), Shri Sunil Das (Painter), Prof Suren Munshi (Academia); Dr S K Sharma (Radiologist) and Prof Dipankar Dasgupta (Economist). They appreciated the work of the State Government and expressed their solidarity for the developmental steps being taken.

The CM held out hope that mega projects announced earlier such as the numerous steel plants and petrochem hub were bound to come up, despite pressures induced by the global economic meltdown. “I just can’t accept the Opposition position. They are opposing everything, even the extension of national highways and acquisition of land for a thermal power plant at Katwa. But, I accept the challenge since I believe in people power and not muscle power,” Bhattacharjee told a gathering at the G D Birla Sabhagar, which also included Nicco’s Rajive Kaul and Titagarh Wagon’s J P Chowdhary from the industrialist fraternity.

“I have spoken to Sajjan Jindal and he has assured me that the JSW plant would definitely come up despite the problems in raising funds from banks at the moment,” the CM added. Bhattacharjee — whose industrialization policies had helped disparate Opposition parties to join hands — said his government had taken lessons from the mistakes committed earlier in acquiring land. “Our intention was not bad. I have no personal preference for cars. All I wanted to see was the smiling faces of thousands of workers at Singur. We wanted to make Nandigram another Haldia. But the Opposition played a destructive role,” he asserted.

However, the state was in the process of setting up a land bank — largely comprising fallow land — at a cost of Rs 500 crore to ensure that plots could be handed over to companies quicker. A rehabilitation package was also being drawn up for affected landlosers. “We are negotiating with a Czech company for a mass rapid transit system,” he added.

Shri Shishir Bajoria, President of CCI urged the citizens to take a pro active role in the overall growth. In the beginning Shri Narayan Jain in his welcome address pointed out the low polling taking place in Kolkata and urged all eligible voters to cast their vote in the ensuing Parliamentary elections without any fear. Mr Jain further emphasised that "We need to appreciate that behind efforts for setting up industry, the major thurst has been creation of job opportunity for youth, which is the need today. These realities need to be appreciated by all including other political parties and cross section of society. Positive attitude is desirable for fast growth of the State."

On the occasion Justice B.L. Jain former Judge of Calcutta High Court, Shri Buddhadeb Guha, Smt. Diplai Bhattacharya, Shri Samir Dutt, Shri Mahesh Shah, Shri Wasim Kapoor were also present.

Earlier, other speakers invited at the programme said the electorate should teach the Opposition a lesson for its negative brand of politics. “We have to ensure that agitational politics is washed away from the shores of West Bengal,” town planner R M Kapoor said. “The intellectuals who are seeking change through hoardings should have the courage to specify what change they want,” painter Sunil Das said.

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