Take the lead
Sir — The investment summit, Bengal Leads, 2013, will have little impact on industrial development in West Bengal (“Gujarat ghost haunts Bengal Leads”, Jan 16). The deterioration of the industrial scene in the state had begun during the reign of the last political dispensation. Growth of industry was impeded when trade unionism, strikes and gheraos started spinning out of control.
The change of guard has not changed the scenario. The present ruling dispensation has only made it worse by its hands-off policy on land acquisition and its repeated show of antagonism towards special economic zones. A mere jamboree costing crores of public money will hardly attract industrialists to the state. To induce entrepreneurs to invest in the state, the government needs to improve the existing infrastructure so that industrial ventures can be facilitated. Land must be made available for medium and small scale industries as well. The rigid stand against SEZs must be changed and the work culture prevailing among the people must be improved. Only then will industrial revival begin in Bengal.
Sanjoy Kumar Lahiri, Calcutta
Sir — Some castles are known to be built on air. Are potential entrepreneurs also being asked to build industries in the air? The available resources in West Bengal for development and maintenance of infrastructure are just not enough for industrial growth (“Where have all the Big Chiefs gone?”, Jan 16). An inappropriate amount of public money is also spent on political tamashas. The people of West Bengal need to ask themselves if they have given themselves the governance that they deserve.
S. Sen, Calcutta
Sir — The chief minister of West Bengal is often so densely surrounded by her admirers that the chief purpose in holding conventions and summits is often lost. Bengal Leads was held in Haldia in the wake of the unceremonious departure of ABG Haldia Bulk Terminals from the area owing to troubles regarding the safety and security issues of its employees. The decision of HBT to pull out followed the Haldia dock imbroglio, which had witnessed the abduction of three of its officers. One wonders whether any concrete result will come out of the investment summit.
A.S. Mehta, Calcutta
Sir — The speech made by the governor, M.K. Narayanan, at the valedictory session of Bengal Leads, 2013, was thought-provoking (“MK stresses on industrial relations”, Jan 18). Narayanan said, “It is not too often that a governor is invited to speak at the valedictory session of such an event. I do so because I believe in Bengal and its future and I hope all of you do so.” The respect for and belief in West Bengal that the governor, who is not originally from the state, has displayed is commendable. If even an inch of this respect had been shown by the leaders of this state — irrespective of the party they belong to — the industrial scene of the state would not have been so dismal. The atmosphere must be made conducive to the growth of industry and the people in charge must rise above narrow politics to bring about change.
Narayanan acknowledged that land acquisition is a major issue. He has stated that the government and the industrialists should be “judicious in their quest for suitable land”. He also said that comparisons with Gujarat with respect to attracting investment are “invidious”, and that Bengal has taken steps to facilitate investment.
Mihir Kanungo, Calcutta
Sir — I am a resident of the Jadavpur area in Calcutta. Recently, while I was on my way back home from Dhakuria, I was accosted by an unknown person. He was carrying a snake and an idol of Kali.
At first he wanted one rupee from me. When I told him that I do not have coins of that denomination, he suggested that I give him Rs 10 and he would then give me the change. Soon he started pestering me for more money. Fortunately, some passers-by came to my rescue. Adequate measures must be taken so that common people are not harassed and robbed of their money by such frauds.
Amlandeep Bhattacharya, Calcutta