The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
CPM counts Nandigram losses

New Delhi, March 31: The CPM top leadership, meeting in Delhi for the first time since the Nandigram bloodshed, is walking a tightrope between conceding its mistakes and sticking to its stand on industrialisation.

The party today conceded the violence would impact investment flow into Bengal but hoped investors would understand the “political conspiracy” behind the agitation.

It said the chemical hub initially proposed for Nandigram would now be based in or around Haldia as such hubs needed to be located in a coastal area with port facilities.

“The national and international coverage of Nandigram will impact investment,” said Bengal industry minister Nirupam Sen, here to attend the CPM’s three-day politburo and central committee meetings. Nandigram is a key issue on the agenda.

There is also the possibility that the party will come up with amendments to the Special Economic Zone Act in the light of the violence.

“We will discuss Nandigram and SEZ. The party may give a fresh proposal (on the SEZ Act) to the UPA government,” politburo member Sitaram Yechury said.

The CPM central leadership has already submitted a list of amendments to the SEZ Act. Post Nandigram, it may want to strengthen the compensation and rehabilitation components.

Although the party, which struck a strident posture immediately after the March 14 killings, is now treading cautiously, it is continuing to reiterate its basic analysis — that the violence was stoked by political rivals Trinamul Congress and the Naxalites.

A day after the killings, Yechury had said he saw no reason why Nandigram should scare away investors.

Now the party leaders admit Nandigram and Singur have taught them a lesson. “We have to convince the people. We failed to make the people see how a chemical hub in Nandigram would help them economically,” Sen said.

The party leadership — at least a section of it — has now conceded that the violence had its roots in the fear among peasants that they would be stripped of their land.

“The peasants were justified in their apprehensions about losing their land. It would not be right to dismiss these fears as baseless,” Sen said.

Email This Page