The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Blink and there's a port

Calcutta, July 8: The chief minister today promised that the Barasat-Raichak expressway, Kulpi port, the deep-sea port at Sagar Island and the Raichak-Kukrahati bridge would be finished in two years.

It's a near-impossible promise, for none of the detailed project reports is ready.

'We expect the projects comprising the expressway, the bridge, the Kulpi port as well as the deep-sea port to be completed in the next two years,' Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said.

Dismissing fears that land acquisition for development would hit farmers as well as food security, he added: 'These projects would help rejuvenate South 24-Parganas and provide a much-needed boost to the state's infrastructure.'

The Kulpi port has been on the back burner for years and the consultant for the deep-sea project will be appointed sometime this year.

The Centre recently invi-ted expressions of interest from would-be consultants for the project, the last date of submission of papers being July 31 this year.

Experts confirmed that a feasibility study for a deep-sea port takes around a year and a half, and the project itself would take another seven to eight years.

Bhattacharjee was speaking at the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the Patton Group's Rs 60-crore project to build engineering goods at the Falta special economic zone (SEZ).

'Investors and employers will generate employment but in contemporary times, the responsibility for productivity and quality is as much the duty of every employee as collective bargaining is their fundamental right,' he said.

The chief minister brushed away fears ' expressed by land and land reforms minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah in the Assembly yesterday ' that land allocation for industry could lead to food shortage. 'The land allocations for industrial projects have been done after careful calculation of the number of mandays created and wealth generated from a piece of agricultural land vis-'-vis industrial land. Therefore, the concerns over food security and the rights of farmers should not arise.'

Societies across the globe have progressed from agriculture to industry, the chief minister said.

Bhattacharjee cited China where the contribution of agriculture to the country's GDP has fallen from 60 to 6 per cent over the past few decades.

'If China can feed its millions with only 6 per cent of the GDP comprising agricultural activities, we should not have problems.'

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