Salboni (West Midnapore), April 12: The first industry to be set up in this largely agrarian district began commercial production today with the first sheets of white asbestos cement rolling out of the factory of Visaka Industries.
A year ago, residents were disappointed when Midnapore was bifurcated, with the large industrial hub of Haldia going to the East district. The West was left with the railway complex at Kharagpur, the small Nimpura industrial estate and the Central Mint as the only industrial establishments.
Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, while bifurcating the district, had indicated that private investors were willing to come to West Midnapore and he was personally asking them to set up units there. He was reacting to remarks that West Midnapore, after bifurcation, was left with only its marauding elephants and the Naxalite faction, the People’s War.
Set up with an investment of Rs 26 crore, the asbestos sheet production unit provides employment to about 150 people from the locality. The unit will produce 80,000 tons of sheets annually.
G. Vivekanand, managing director of Visaka Industries, said the state government had been extremely cooperative and the unit was commissioned three months before schedule. “We have units in Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, but I can say without hesitation that all the people concerned have given us full support in getting the project through,” he said.
The managing director pointed out that the management was yet to see any form of militant trade unionism. “The workers do come up with the occasional issue which is sorted out without any trouble by both sides,” Vivekanand said.