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India: Development and West Bengal

Singur underlines why development is crucial in West Bengal. “Today, regional and sub-regional cooperation is the axis around which the wheel of economic growth is turning. The nay-sayers to new investments in West Bengal and Bangladesh should glance eastwards to see how this wheel has turned in the direction of poverty alleviation, employment generation and shared prosperity. Not long ago, undivided Bengal was more advanced than several countries in Southeast and Far East Asia. Kolkata itself was ahead of Shanghai. Today, if Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and, lately, even Vietnam, have left West Bengal and Bangladesh far behind, it is primarily because they realised the virtue of economic cooperation.”

3 comments

  • sarasij majumder

    I absolutely agree with Ms Neha Viswanathan. But what is mindboggling is the kind of misrepresentations and misinformation that is being spread by activists who refused to discuss compensation for small landholders. The sooner they are challenged by a clear-thinking public opinion, the better itis for West Bengal.I have spent almost a year in Singur, doing my fieldwork. I know how the activists of all color have distorted and supressed facts.

  • Shombhoo

    I want to register my following queries to the so-called supporter of TATA and NANO plant (mostly commies intellectuals):
    · Who is responsible for this fiasco?

    – Definitely TATAs and WB Govt. Why TATA has chosen the fertile lands of Singur and not some barren lands of Birbhum or Bankura? Why WB Govt. try to bulldoze the land acquisition without taking the farmers and the opposition into confidence? Why the agreement between TATA and Govt. is still not published and kept secret? Why 1897 land acquisition law (which is meant for some Govt. project of public importance) was applied to acquire lands for private industry? CPI(M) has now become a party of promoters and real estate agent in WB. They think that their party workers can earn more if they bring big industries at any cost to Bengal because that will inflate the real estate market. So CPI(M) is now after industrialization even at the cost of poor farmers. We want answers on all these from the supporter of TATA plant before criticizing the agitation.

    · Why the situation is different from other states?

    – The scnerio in WB is different than other states because firstly the lands are much more fertile than the barren lands used for industry in other states like Maharashtra. Secondly people are very poor and depend solely on small pieces of land as their sole means of livelihood. If the land is taken away with whatever compensation, the whole family will lose their earning and they will become labourer. So to create employment of about 10000 people in Nano plant (mostly out of state engineers and labourers and a few Bengali as clerk) actually we will create 10000 unemployed (land owner and their family members). This is not development. Who will benefit from the Nano car? The middle class, who have power to purchase a car and not the Farmers.

    · What if TATA agrees to return 400 acre of land?
    – Some logic is given that if the land is returned that is not cultivable now because it has lost its fertility. But presnt land rate of Singur is 45 lakh per acre whereas the Govt rate is 12 lakh per acre. The farmers even cannot do cultivation can sell the land at higher price for real estate and be benefited.

    · What if TATA leave Singur?

    – TATA chosen Singur and WB not out of any affection to Bengal or for its development. They have calculated that since WB is one of the cheapest parts of India and since it is near to their steel plant at Jamshedpur, they can save a lot of money to produce the car and can sell that at cheapest price. This is not possible in Maharashtra or Gujarat where the cost of living is very high which will escalate the car price. So I don’t think they will leave WB. If they do so, only part of investment of 1500 crore will be lost which was used for land filling, labour cost etc. Other things like structures, machineries can be dismantled and taken to new site and reused. So total loss of TATA will be only 150-200 crore out of 1500 crore.

    • Sabyasachi [Kanchrapara/ Kolkata]

      The above Shombho is simply a nonsense.He doesn’t know much about West Bengal . According to Noble laureate Amartya Sen and also Dr. Swaminathan, WB is a land critical state.Here the total amount of land is 88.752 sq-km and only 1% of this land is not fertile enough for the agricultural purposes. So, if you have to acquire land then you have to acquire agricultural land , Otherwise stop industrialisation.Actually, the main reason for TATA’s moving out of singur is the destructive politics of Mamta Banerjee led TMC party.Their mob even beaten some of the foreign workers of TATA ………As Ratan Tata indicated there is also a higher possiblity of exchange of money to Mamta from their rival group with a deal of stopping Nano in WB at any cost.This is the inner scenario that often comes infront of our eyes.Besides ,TMC is also protesting a proposed chemical hub at Nayachar in WB with a view that it will have an adverse affect on the ecosystem of water…But,such Chemical hub is also proposed to be set up on Visakhapatnam…..But, there is no such protest.West Bengal is now developing rampantly and in the near future (within 10 yrs [maximum]) , it will replace Punjab/Gujrat /Kerala from its no 1 position in India.

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