The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hub definitely in Haldia: CM

Burnpur (Asansol), Aug. 28: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said the government was determined to set up the chemical hub in Haldia and would convince the Opposition about its importance at the all-party meeting on September 3.

“We are definitely setting up the chemical hub in Haldia and that is why we are looking for land near the port,” the chief minister told a meeting of the Citu-led Steel Workers’ Federation of India here.

He accused the Opposition of slowing down Bengal’s industrialisation and stressed the need for consensus on big projects. “We must convince the Opposition about the importance of chemical and petrochemical industries. How can we let go of such an opportunity'”

The hub will cover 25,000 acres, of which 10,000 acres are yet to be acquired,” industries minister Nirupam Sen said on Friday.

Companies like Haldia Petrochem and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation PTA already occupy 15,000 acres in the port town.

“We don’t understand what the Opposition wants. In Bengal, small and marginal farmers own 80 per cent of the farmland. We have made it possible. Now, suddenly the Congress and Trinamul (Congress) are shedding tears for farmers. I want to tell them that we want to go ahead with industrialisation keeping in mind our success in agriculture,” Bhattacharjee said.

All political parties would be invited to the September 3 meeting to decide the hub’s location. Bhattacharjee had said the parties would be given two or three options to choose from, though he made it clear that the hub had to be located in the vicinity of Haldia port.

Sen had said 25,000 acres were essential for the hub, ac-cording to central guidelines for a Petroleum Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region.

Bhattacharjee criticised the Centre for “not giving adequate importance” to the steel industry and referred to a slew of proposals to set up plants in West Midnapore, Purulia, and Burdwan. “The biggest is be- ing built by the Jindals in Salboni (West Midnapore).”

“The country has a coal policy, but not one on iron ore. That is why our ore is going out of the country,” the chief minister said.

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