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Industry hub in Bankura barren belt

Bankura, Sept. 5: The Bankura administration will build a 3,000-acre industry hub in the backward district where vast stretches are infertile.

The hub will have the potential to bring around Rs 10,000 crore of investment, district magistrate Surendra Gupta said.

The focus will be on medium and small units, but polluting industries such as iron or ferro-alloy units will not be allowed.

The government greenlighted the plan after an all-party team, including Trinamul Congress leaders, met the chief minister in June. Land scouting began in July.

The land and land reforms department has identified six blocks — Bankura I, Bankura II, Saltora, Gangajalghati, Borjora, Mejia and Bishnupur — that are mostly barren. A small portion of Borjora and Mejia has single-crop land, a land department official said.

“After we identify the 3,000 acres, we’ll prepare a map and circulate it among all the parties to avoid any controversy,” the district magistrate said.

Land acquisition will begin after a “political consensus” is reached.

Three all-party meetings have been held in the past two months and Trinamul Congress leaders attended all of them. But the party has set a rider for its support to the hub.

“We need it, but not at the cost of agricultural land. We have made this clear to the administration at the meetings,” district party president Kashinath Mishra said, echoing his boss, Mamata Banerjee.

But several party leaders said in private that a hub would a “blessing” in the industry-starved district. “We will have no supporters if there is no development,” one of them said.

Bankura has no big industry, but only a few stray sponge iron and ferro-alloy units in Mejia and Borjora.

“We are hopeful about the hub. We hope Nandigram and Singur will not be repeated in this backward district. Most of the land here is not fertile, so we need industries,” said Amiya Patra, the district CPM secretary and chairman of the Bankura Comprehensive Area Development Authority.

The authority will develop infrastructure for the hub.

A district official said steel and iron industries would be interested in Bankura because of its proximity to iron ore-rich Jharkhand and Orissa. “We also expect investment in the cement industry because of the real estate boom.”

The DVC power plant in Mejia is an attraction, too.

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