May 20, 2009


KOLKATA: Dhar Bagan in Rajabazaar in the heart of the metropolis of Kolkata was the scene of Trinamuli rampage during the night/morning of 19-20 May.  Fayez Ali a CPI (M) worker went in the morning of 19 May to the residential tenement house of his uncle to collect a blood donation card for his ailing cousin. 


His uncle Ala-ud din is a member of the Sealdah east local committee of the CPI (M).  On seeing Fayez, a whole lot of drug pedlars who double as the local Trinamul ‘leadership,’ led by a history-sheeter named ‘Billy’ Raju, rushed at him with large switch-knives. 


Run for life

Fayez ran for his life.  He was soon caught up, tripped to the ground, beaten up, stabbed, and left for dead, with multiple bleeding injuries.  When Ala-ud din’s wife came out to prevent further blows from raining down on the prostrate and groaning young man, she was caught hold of and flung to the ground, and then kicked.  It was only the resistance of the local populace that ultimately made the attackers flee, threatening, and flinging abuses all the time as they ran.


We are told that northern parts of the city have been made especial targets of the Trinamuli attacks – from the Pathuriaghata Street in ‘old Kolkata,’ to the more recent Beliaghata bustee, and the Narkeldanga locality, attacks are being mounted on CPI (M) workers and sympathisers in a systematic manner.  Ganashakti boards have been pulled down, ripped apart, and set fire to with impunity at several places here.


Attack in the suburbs continue

The attacks continue in the suburbs.  At Maheshtala, a mufussil township in south 24 Parganas, variety goods stalls of three CPI (M) supporters, Prasanta Haldar, Doodhkumar Mondal, and Ananda Dolui were looted, wrecked completely, and then the remains set on fire, pauperising the three small traders completely. 


At the Daudpur GP area in Barasat in north 24 Parganas, bombs and crackers were thrown at a school building, making the students run panic-struck.  Another feature here is the extortion of sums of money from CPI (M) worker and their relatives – the amounts ranging from five thousand rupees up to a lakh or two.  Any negation meets with severe beating and worse, come night time.  Staying in Barasat, the Trinamulis looted houses of a dozen-odd CPI (M) workers and made off with all their life savings, wrecking their hutments as well.


Role of the media

The corporate media has assumed its new anti-Communist role.  They print photos of CPI (M) workers grieving and caption them as ‘some man/ some woman’ as having been beaten up by ‘CPM’ -- and the shameless charade goes on and on.  Elsewhere the ‘Sushil Samaj,’ consisting of self-acclaimed anti-Communist ‘intellectuals,’ met the Trinamuli chief at a bash they had organised, and urged upon her to ‘advance the dates for the Assembly elections to which the chieftain cheerily agreed, before flying off to the capital for a tête-à-tête with the central Congress leadership.



KOLKATA: From all across the state, we have received news that protest marches are organised at the behest of the CPI (M) and the Left Front.  Such processions have taken place throughout the day of 18 and 19 May in nearly all the districts of Bengal.  Perhaps, the processions attract a few hundred people each at the moment, but the swing is evident that in the days to come resistance will be offered when further attacks are organised by the Trinamuli goons.  In the meanwhile, attacks continue to rain down on CPI (M) Left Front workers.



Forward Bloc worker Arabinda Mondal was the first victim of the fresh round of post-poll armed assaults in Bengal.  On 18 May, comrade Arabinda (39) who was one of the architects of the rural polls win last year here at Pari-Anantpur at Kaliachak, Maldah, ran a cell phone repair shop that was also a known Left adda where comrades would gather as evening would fall and exchange views.  The shop with the FB comrade inside was under assault during the lone mid-day hours.  Comrade Arabinda had his head smashed in, with a piece of brick after having been beaten up severely and he died with clothing stuffed into his mouth.    



Even children are not spared in these attacks.  At Bada Kaimari village at Sitalkuchi in Coochbehar up north in the state, the Trinamuli goons perpetrated a heinous crime on a small child of five.  In the name of victory festival, they tied a long string of crackers around the body of Kochi, a son of a local CPI (M) supporter Shahid-ur Mian.  Then they set the crackers afire, causing the very panic-struck young boy, a child in fact, to run around, madly screaming all the time, as the goons whooped it up with derisive laughter.  The boy had later to be hospitalised for burn wounds and trauma.


At Kaliachak’s Nomopada populated by poor people belonging to the scheduled castes, the Trinamuli hoods shot at the hutments of CPI (M) workers and supporters while indulging in terror-tactics in the name of victory marches.  Hutments were wrecked, some set on fire, and the people driven away to take shelter in neighbouring villages, scattering whole families all over a large area.  At Englishbazar also in Maldah, the haystack of a poor CPI (M) worker Sudhakar Das of Shalihat was torched.  The wrecking of boarded up Ganashakti newspaper has continued throughout the district as elsewhere in Bengal reminding us of the decade of the 1970s.



The house in Jadavpur of Chandana Ghosh Dastidar, CPI (M) MLA was attacked.  The attempts by Trinamuli goons to break into the house were somehow foiled by the local people.  At Kakdwip, staying in south 24 Parganas, Amoles Bhattacharya and Gautam Haldar of the CPI (M) were waylaid and assaulted – both are now recuperating from injuries at the Kakdwip hospital.  


Away in Hooghly at Daudpur, Trinamuli miscreants looted and demolished the roadside stalls of CPI (M) workers Khshudiram Majhi and Susanta Majhi.  A total of 25 CPI (M) workers were injured.  The women and children ran away and took shelter for the night in terror amongst the rice paddies under the open sky. 


At Murarai in Birbhum, eighteen CPI (M) workers received injuries as a result of a sudden armed Trinamuli assault.  The vehicle and house of Manik Sheikh, a GP member from the CPI (M) was completely demolished by attackers waving the Trinamuli colours.  This happened nearby at Maharalpur.  Away at Nadia district, the Trinamuli assaults and rampaging continued in places.  At Ranaghat’s Phulia crossing the Trinamuli hoods assaulted with sharp weapons CPI (M) worker Rabindranath Biswas and his 80-year old mother was not spared of the attack.  Both lie in serious condition at the Ranaghat Alunia hospital.



Widespread attacks are organised throughout north 24 Parganas.  A doctor at Barasat was attacked and injured for his political affiliation with the CPI (M).  Khamarpara local committee leaders of the CPI (M), Maidul, Rahaman, and Hamid were assaulted with sharp weapons and were hospitalised.  At Panihati in the same district, four shops were wrecked. 


At Sandeshkhali, the residential houses of AIDWA leader Pritikana Das was attacked and wrecked.  More than 100 CPI (M) workers have had to leave their residences and take shelter elsewhere out of the district and / or the locality.  Attacks on Party offices continued in Howrah as more such reports come in from north Bengal districts.



KOLKATA: The footfalls of anarchy are heard --loud and clear-- across Bengal.  The Trinamuli chief has threatened that her outfit ‘shall see what CPI (M) is,’ and the disciples, beings of the dark all of them have duly obeyed, recognising the signals of letting loose the dogs of war, and coming out like the fierce subterranean creatures that they are.  


In the name of a victory procession, anarchy has been let loose in a remote village called Solabagha at Uluberia in the district of Howrah, some 60 km from Kolkata during the evening and night of 17 May.


Crossing the Mundeswari River that is not yet, we found, in spate and one could easily wade across the thin shallow flow, in the dark of the night, a band of heavily armed goons, there were maybe 60 or 70 of them, initiated the attack with indiscriminate firing and bomb-throwing. 


As the villagers, all of whom were khet mazdoors or poor farmers, and they were the people who brought a definite ‘lead’ when the votes were cast and later counted in their village booth, hence the reason of the assault, started to flee, children wailing, men, and women held in the thrall of sheer terror.



Soon the crackling sound of licking flames were heard as lighted torches were touched to the bone-dry hutment structures that burst into flames with an ominous debilitating sound, and the villagers were witness to their hearth-and-home, their everything consumed by an angry sweep of fire as the goons danced and whooped in macabre joy.  They also made off with several dozen heads of cattle including cows, bullocks, goats and sheep as well as fowls and chicks.


Another group of the attackers had meanwhile wrecked a small rice mill, looted the half-a-dozen-odd small shops that the village possessed, and pulled down the flimsy sheds under which the villagers would gossip away idle summer afternoons over earthenware pots of tea.  When we went to the village the acrid smell of burnt paddy, charred clothes, and aluminium pots and pans that had melted hung acrid in the night air.  There was an eerie fearful silence, bar the occasional crackling sound of bombs bursting at a distance as the attackers made good their escape across the river.



The local CPI (M) leadership had to make haste to throw up a relief camp of sorts where the people from all the 44 hutments, the small village’s proud possessions, streamed in, shell-shocked.  Later as we motored duly out to make for the comfortable life of the metropolis, leaving the villagers behind, the police appeared, as did a company or two of the Rapid Action Force along with what we reckoned were two fire tenders.  By then, the village had burnt down completely-- and the silence was the stillness of the graveyard.


Elsewhere, we were told, similar attacks are being mounted in areas of Midnapore east, especially in Khejuri that had voted solidly for the CPI (M) for the Tamluk Lok Sabha seat.  Right from the morning of 17 May, Trinamul goons led by the local GP member Ranjit Mondal streamed into the Khejuri block II comprising among other Nichaksaba, Janka, Boga, and Kadirabad villages.  After entering the locales, the criminals dug up all the roads leading into and out of the block and even rounded up at gunpoint the few police personnel presence and pushed them into a hutment, closing the door on them.



Then the hoodlums started kicking open the doors of the hutments and pucca houses of those known to be workers or sympathisers of the CPI (M) and told them to go away from the locale, or else.  40 families were displaced.  The goons came back in the evening and attacked the fresh police personnel who had arrived from the nearby station. 


They heckled the police who held their restraint, and taking advantage of the situation, the Trinamuli goons set fire to two police vehicles, bet up three policemen, and prevented fire tenders from coming into the affected zone.  By then most ports of the village resembled a war zone with bursting of bombs, setting fire to, to hutments and pucca buildings, and indiscriminate looting.


The goons were soon reinforced with many more of their kind from nearby Trinamul-dominated Garchakraberia, Sonachura, and Nandigram block I.  All of them were armed.  The final assault saw the police completely surrounded and the goons running mayhem in the entire Khejuri II block area.  The looting continued for some time before the goons finally left.  By then a large part of village had been left wrecked.


Elsewhere in the district, at places like Bhagabanpur, the hutment of the zonal secretary of the CPI (M) was wrecked and set fire to, while the zonal secretary, Gour Boll himself was left bleeding from multiple injuries.  The hutments of 30-odd CPI (M) workers were destroyed and the comrades left homeless. 



When a relief camp for the importunate was set up at Nimkihar nearby, that place too was not spared, reminding us of those terrible days and nights in 2007 when the Nandigram relief camps were treated similarly.  250 refugees had to find themselves scattered and cowering before the armed might of the Trinamulis who were led by history-sheeters like Laltu Pradhan and Pintu Pradhan.


At Habibchak in south 24 Parganas, Trinamuli goons generated another fierce armed attack.  They started by trampling underfoot a martyrs column tat had been erected for some time now and then entered the village proper and started to shot and lob bombs.  Dozens of CPI (M) supporters were forced to leave the village and as they fled, they saw looking back, everything in their meagre household being either looted or put to the torch.  The scene was repeated at Andharmanik, Bishnupur, Gholsapathali, Raskhali, Doodhibasali, and Panakura villages. 


Hundred-odd Trinamuli goons attacked the office of the state government employees’ coordination committee at the Kakdwip sub-division.  Even women employees were not spared.  The attack left several dozens wounded and bleeding and the furniture and computers wrecked.  There has been an attack by the Trinamulis at different places in Basirhat in north 24 Parganas.  The roadside mounted boards of Ganashakti were pulled down and in the mêlée, as some CPI (M) workers tried to dissuade the misdeed, several of them had to suffer from serious injuries from sharp, cutting weapons.



In Nadia, in fact throughout Nadia, cities and villages, Trinamuli goons were ‘in action.’  They wrecked offices of the CITU and of the roadways workers’ union, and only retreated when the workers struck back.  There was another murderous attack by the Trinamulis at Hasadanga in the south Krishnagar area.  Fishingfolk who swear allegiance traditionally to the CPI (M) and the Left were attacked, left with bleeding injuries, and had their houses looted along with their fishing equipment.  In Nabadwip, 17 May saw a gang of Trinamulis, motor-borne, moving around the town and calling upon householders as well as shopkeepers to hoist the Trinamuli flag or they would be attacked with bombs and guns. 


Up in north-central Bengal, Maldah saw Congress-Trinamuli combination run assaults on CPI (M) workers and supporters, especially at Gajol, Englishbazar, and Madanpur, leaving scores of CPI (M) workers injured, the womenfolk and children threatened, and  their households looted.  Attacks were also organised at Sujali and Patagura at Islampur, as we file this report. 



At Singur, scores of Trinamuli goons streamed into the factory premises beat up the security staff and made off with various pieces of equipment, motor parts, small lathe machines, gearing hobs, electronic goods and this went on for all of four hours, we are told.  While going away the Trinamuli goons raised the slogan that wrecking apart the factory premises will now be recognised as the 100 days' guarantee of rural work.





Polit Bureau Condemns Pre and Post Poll Violence in Bengal

May 18, 2009

Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement

Polit Bureau Condemns Pre and Post Poll Violence in Bengal

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly condemns the series of attacks against Party cadre and sympathizers in West Bengal by the Trinamool Congress and in some areas by Congress workers which have been accelerated in the post poll period. Two comrades, including a Forward Bloc worker have been killed in the post poll period and hundreds have been attacked and houses burnt. Women and children have not been spared. Earlier, 26 comrades had been killed in the period between March 7 and May 13. Three electoral officers were also killed by Maoists in a landmine blast. After the polls a police officer was also killed by these armed groups. 


The aim behind the violence unleashed primarily by the TMC is to terrorise CPI(M) supporters and drive them out from selected areas, to create lawlessness in the State, deliberately provoke intervention of the police with the undemocratic aim to destabilize the elected state Government and prevent it from working to implement pro-people policies. 


These highly condemnable anti-democratic acts must be foiled. Elected members of the TMC and Congress from West Bengal are presumably going to be members of the Central Government. They have to ensure that the democratic and constitutional rights are not trampled in the blatant manner that is being done by their combine in West Bengal. 


The Polit Bureau while expressing its grief at the killing of Party cadres and sympathizers, expresses its confidence that the peace loving people of West Bengal will foil the conspiracies which seek to recreate the anarchy and violence of the early seventies.


Some details of the attacks are as follows: 


In Murshidabad Parliamentary Constituency Congress miscreants killed CPI(M) activist Com. Mantaj Sheikh. They unleashed terror in the Raninagar area in which a police officer, Gopal Mandal was killed.


In Uluberia Parliamentary Constituency of Howrah, the Trinamool activists attacked the entire areas of Chitnan gram panchayat and looted and set fire to 43 houses. They tortured women and children. The affected people are now being shifted to a temporary relief camp.


In Kaliaganj, Malda, thirty houses of party workers have been set on fire.


In Birbhum Parliamentary Constituency the Trinamool goons attacked Com. Dhiren Bagdi, MLA of Mahammadbazar Assembly Constituency. Now he is under treatment in Suri Hospital. At least 15 party workers were injured in this attack. The Trinamool goons set fire to a party camp office, party vehicles and the red flags. In different areas of Birbhum like Mahammadbazar, Murarai, Saintshia attacks are taking place in the name of victory processions. In South 24-Parganas Falta Assembly constituency on the day before the elections, TMC goons had physically attacked the CPI(M) woman MLA Com Chandana Ghosh Dastidar and subjected her to abuse and humiliation. She had to be hospitalized. Following the election results she has again been threatened.


The Trinamool activists are continuing attacks in Tamluk, Mahisadal of East Midnapore district. In Khejuri Trinamool has started its attack by digging roads, setting fire to police vehicles and forcing poor people to flee from their homes. Party workers and party offices have been attacked in Kulpi, Canning and Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district and Rajarhat and Duttaspukur in North 24 Parganas district.


Reports of Trinamool attack on CPI(M) are coming from various areas of West Bengal like Sitalkuchi of Coochbehar, Sabang in West Midnapore, Bhangar in South 24 Parganas, Cooper’s Camp area of Nadia etc. 


The list of those killed is given below:




March 7

Khejuri, Purba Medinipur

Subal Kajli

March 12

Bankura, Joypur Gram Panchayat

Sayed Ali Bhunia

March 17

Patiram, Dakshin Dinajpur

Ansar Ali

March 18

Baharampore, Haridasmati Panchayat Bhulaveda, Pashim Medinipur, Belpahari Raina, Bardhaman, Titaghar, North 24 Parganas

Gopal Mondal, Durga Desowali, Santosh Mahato, Sohorbdewan, Bijoy Shaw

April 10

Bhulaveda, Paschim Medinipur

Ashim Mondal

April 21

Salbani, Paschim Medinipur

Hambir Mandi, Shakti Sen

April 23

Supurdi Gram Panchayat, Purulia

Baikunta Mahato, Bibhuti Singh Sardar

April 27

Haripal Gram Panchayat, Hooghly

Bhaben Dhig

April 30


Sanjoy Das, Prasad Banerjee, Sougata Karmakar (Electoral Officers)

May 7

Uluberia, Howrah, Jangirpur, Murshidabad

Manowar Ali, Chandu Dalui, Kasinath Mondal

May 8

Bagnan, Howrah

Sk. Saidul, Sk. Babua

May 9

Nandigram, Purba Medinipur

Abdulla Khan,  Sk. Aksar

May 10

Tamluk, Purbo Medinipur

Shawuddin Khan

May 13

Canning, South 24 Parganas

Joynal Mollah

May 15

Bandoan, Purulia

Manu Sing

May 16

Raninagar, Murshidabad

Mamtaz Shekh, Gopal Mondal (Police)

May 17

Chari Anantapur, Maldah

Arabinda Mondal (FB)


Total Number of people Killed    31

CPI(M)                                        26  

Forward Bloc                                01

Police                                            01

Electoral officers                           03

CPI(M)'s vote share declining in its bastions

New Delhi, May 19 (PTI): The just concluded Lok Sabha polls could be a wake-up call for CPI-M as it has not only lost seats by more than 60 per cent but also witnessed a dip in its vote share in its strongholds of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura.

The party's overall vote share has fallen from 5.66 per cent in 2004 to 5.33 per cent this year.

All the three states, ruled by the Marxists, have witnessed decline in the percentage of polling for the party, leading to its tally going down from 43 in 2004 to 16 this year.

The percentages of vote share by CPI(M) in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura are 33.1, 30.48 and 61.69 respectively. The vote share in these states in the last elections was 38.57 per cent, 31,52 per cent and 68.8 per cent respectively.

In West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress, which got 21.04 per cent polls in 2004, increased its share to 31.17 per cent this year.

The vote share of both Congress and BJP also declined in West Bengal from 14. 56 per cent and 8.06 per cent to 13.45 per cent and 6.14 per cent respectively.

As CPI(M)'s vote share went down in Kerala, Congress increased its share from 32.13 per cent to 40.13 per cent. BJP's share went down from 10.38 per cent to 6.31 per cent this year. PTI

Left Front gets six per cent less votes in West Bengal

KOLKATA, 20th MAY, 2009: The CPI(M)-led ruling Left Front, which faced the worst-ever poll debacle in West Bengal, received six per cent less votes in the Lok Sabha elections which cost the nine-party combine 17 seats.

Since assuming power in the state in 1977, the Left Front more or less secured around 47-50 per cent votes till 2004, but according to statistics this has declined to 43.30 per cent in this Lok Sabha elections in the state.The voteshare of Trinamool Congress-led alliance, on the other hand, was nearly 46 per cent this time. The alliance includes Congress and the Socialist Unity Centre of India.

In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the Left Front received 50.71 per cent votes with CPI(M) alone accounting for 38.55 per cent.Trinamool Congress, which contested the elections in alliance with the BJP in 2004, received 29.10 per cent votes with the TC securing 21.4 per cent.Total votes for Left Front in this election was nearly 1.85 crore, while in the 2006 Assembly elections it was polled over 1.98 crore votes.Left Front's total votes in 2004 Lok Sabha elections were over 1.87 crore.

The Trinamool-led alliance (including Congress and Socialist Unity Centre of India) polled over 1.95 crore votes in this Lok Sabha elections. Trinamool Congress alone polled 31.18 per cent, while its poll ally Congress, which contested 14 seats, received 13.45 per cent of the votes.Trinamool Congress fielded candidates in 27 constituencies, leaving one to the SUCI.

BJP, which contested all the 42 Lok Sabha seats, secured 6.14 per cent to win the Darjeeling seat.The saffron party, which contested the seat with the support of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha and won the seat, got 51.50 per cent votes in the constituency. In rest of the seats, BJP's voteshare ranged between less than two per cent in Tamluk and 21.40 per cent at Alipurduar (ST).

The Left Front's voteshare dropped by over 2.60 lakh compared to 2004 despite the addition of about 50 lakh new voters this time.Compared to 2006 Assembly elections, this Lok Sabha elections saw a rise in the voteshare of both Trinamool Congress and Congress by 32 lakh.

Time to introspect: Somnath Chatterjee

20 May 2009, 0457 hrs IST, TNN

KOLKATA: Though senior Left leader Somnath Chatterjee didn't blame any leader for the Left's electoral debacle, he said that it was time for sincere introspection. "There must be some reasons for the poor showing. These have to be identified and corrective measures taken," Chatterjee said, speaking on TV on Tuesday. 

Chatterjee hit out at the CPM leadership on the nuclear deal, which led to his ouster from the party. "How did the party benefit from withdrawing support to the UPA government? They couldn't pull down the government. If elections had happened then would the party have gained? I am clear to my conscience that I did the right thing," said Chatterjee. 

In the past a Basu loyalist, Chatterjee had crossed swords with CPM's central leadership when the CPM patriarch was denied the opportunity to become the Prime Minister in 1996. "It was a monumental error. Joining the government then would have been the correct decision. Most of the leaders from Bengal were against me at that time. I was in a hopeless minority and the party didn't agree," he said. 

Reflecting on the party's poor performance in West Bengal, Chatterjee said errors made by the party had led to this. "At some places, the party has moved away from the people. Some workers may harbour feelings that since we have been in power for so long no one can oppose us. This is a punishment for such thoughts. I believe the state leaders will identify the reasons, take corrective measures and win back supporters," Chatterjee said. 

"The party has weakened wherever they have moved away from the people," he said.

Left concern over reverses in West Bengal

KOLKATA,19th May,2009: The leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in West Bengal met at an emergency meeting of the party’s State secretariat here on Tuesday, a day after its Polit Bureau expressed its deep concern over the “serious reverses” suffered by the party and its Left partners in the State.

Among those present were Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee; Biman Basu, secretary of the CPI(M) West Bengal State Committee; and Industries and Commerce Minister Nirupam Sen — all members of the party’s Polit Bureau.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Basu called on veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu at his Salt Lake residence and briefed him on the discussions at Monday’s Polit Bureau meeting in New Delhi.

The State secretariat meeting came five days ahead of the crucial meeting of the party’s State Committee where the dismal performance of the CPI(M) in the Lok Sabha elections will be reviewed with an eye to taking corrective steps.

The CPI(M) State secretariat was informed of the deliberations at the Polit Bureau that had noted with concern the Left debacle in the State as well as in Kerala and had suggested a serious examination of the reasons for the reverses suffered by the State Committees concerned.

The party leadership has observed that both national and State-specific factors are responsible for the CPI(M)’s poor performance in the polls.

Besides what CPI(M) leaders here have described as a “wave” of support for a stable government at the Centre that resulted in a pro-Congress vote, local issues were also a determining factor in the State as was the swing in the minority vote away from the Left parties in the State.

One State-specific issue that could have impacted the voting pattern in West Bengal that is being argued is the political spin-off of the contentious debate over the acquisition of farmland for industry.


Tatas dump steel project

Kolkata, May 19: Tata Metaliks Ltd has brought down the curtain on its proposed steel plant in Bengal.The Calcutta-headquartered company, which operates a large pig iron plant in Kharagpur, today formally informed the state government about its decision.

Just  two  months ago, the company had announced its desire to scrap the Rs 1,000-crore mini steel plant project. But the Bengal government prevailed upon it to reconsider the decision. The company board met on May 7 where the issue was taken up once again for discussion.The management was so far tight-lipped about the decision taken at the meeting. “We will formally inform the government in the next few days,” managing director Harsh K. Jha had said after the meeting.

However, the state government received the quit letter only today, almost two weeks after the meeting but only three days after the results of the Lok Sabha polls. Bengal’s Left Front suffered a humiliating defeat in this year’s election, signalling a change in the state’s political landscape. Left parties are also out of the reckoning at the Centre, losing the bargaining power it enjoyed during the better part of the UPA regime between 2004 and 2009.

During that period many steel companies had promised large investments in Bengal, but Tata Metaliks was the first to do so.It had sought 500 acres adjacent to its pig iron and ductile iron pipe plant in Kharagpur in early 2005. The state government was ready to offer 350 acres, to which the company agreed.However, the government could acquire only 192 acres so far. In the meantime, land prices have gone up from Rs 4 lakh an acre in 2005 to Rs 8-9 lakh now. Tata Metaliks had reservations on that.

The West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation, a shareholder in Tata Metaliks having a board representation, was entrusted with the job to acquire land for many other big industrial projects.The company might have stuck to its decision to quit as it feared the state government would not be able to deliver the land in the near future.

Government sources had earlier indicated that the company was shelving the project as the steel sector had turned bearish following the global economic slowdown.Steel prices have crashed from a high of $1,250 a tonne to $450 a tonne now, taking a toll on several expansion projects. Tata Metaliks is now pursuing a similar project on a larger scale in Karnataka.The state has identified 900 acres, some 300 km from Bangalore in the iron-ore rich Bellary-Hospet region.


Kolkata, May 19: Texmaco Ltd, a KK Birla group company, has formed a joint venture with United Group of Australia to manufacture hi-tech wagon and locomotive bogie frames, it was announced here Tuesday.

'A joint venture company with United Group, one of Asia's leading end-to-end rail technology solutions provider, has been incorporated, and steps are being discussed to set up a modern facility to make hi-tech wagon and locomotive bogie frames for Indian Railways, the private industry and exports,' Texmaco said in a statement.

The two companies had joined hands in 2007 for a 50:50 joint venture to form the biggest railway hub in West Bengal.

Texmaco has entered into tie-ups with several multi-nationals to exploit the business opportunities offered by Indian Railways, which has made a Rs.230,000-crore expansion plan in the 11th Five-Year plan.

'The current order book of the company stands at around Rs.1300 crore, which would enable it to maintain smooth production during the current year. It would stand to be further augmented by the Railway orders under planning for 2009-10,' the release said.

The company's turnover was up 16 percent to Rs.1,091.25 crore for the fiscal ended Mar 31, 2009 as against Rs.943.52 crore the previous year.

Texmaco's net profit rose 10 percent to Rs.75.84 crore last fiscal from Rs.69.09 crore in 2007-08.

The performance of the company was to some extent impacted due to deceleration exports, the release said.