Calcutta, May 17: Stung by the Nandigram backlash, the government has decided to make the concept of a mega-chemical hub clear to all before moving ahead with the project.
Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today told his cabinet colleagues that he would circulate a detailed note on the chemical hub among all political parties.
He also hinted that if anyone wanted clarifications on any point in the note, a meeting could be convened.
The note has been drafted by commerce and industries minister Nirupam Sen and will be endorsed by Bhattacharjee before it is despatched to all parties.
“We must have the mega-chemical hub. Bengal is one of the frontrunners for this project. But if we’re not careful, states like Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, which are also vying for the project, will bag it,” Bhattacharjee reportedly told his colleagues at a cabinet core committee meeting this morning.
The note will explain why the hub is required, how industry as well as locals will benefit from it and also explore options on where it can be located. Although the chief minister didn’t mention Haldia, he said the hub would have to be located near a port.
Bhattacharjee is reported to have said that his party would not impose any decision on anyone but would only implement the project after a consensus was reached with all stakeholders.
As for acquisition of land for other industrial projects, the chief minister said that finding land in bulk at one go would be impossible. “Instead of making major announcements, we will have to consider every proposal individually as and when it comes. As for acquisition (of land), a consensus will be built locally before the process starts,” Bhattacharjee said.
RSP minister Kshiti Goswami raised the issue of preparing a map marking land available for industry and farming. The chief minister reportedly said it was being drawn up.
Bhattacharjee also said that the situation in Nandigram was still turbulent. “However, gradually, we have been able to start the ferry service and one gram panchayat has started functioning. Pradhans of two other panchayats are still unable to return to their villages.”
The government today extended by a month the time frame of the executive inquiry into the March 14 firing in Nandigram.
Mamata talks peace
Mamata Banerjee today said it was irrelevant who would attend the proposed all-party meeting on Nandigram.
“The peace meeting is to restore normality and begin a journey on the way to peace. Who attends and who doesn’t is of no consequence,” the Trinamul Congress chief said on her return from Delhi tonight.
With the CPM unwilling to commit that the chief minister would attend the all-party meeting, there had been fears that Mamata would back out.