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CM rules out single land package

Calcutta, Jan. 17: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today acknowledged the need for “planned rehabilitation of landlosers” but ruled out a uniform rehabilitation policy across the state.

He urged the CPM rank and file to “carry forward the drive for industrialisation with courage, despite obstacles, with the aim of creating employment”.

But the chief minister also made it clear that “it would not be possible to provide jobs to everybody”.

Speaking on the last day of the closed-door CPM state conference, Bhattacharjee said: “The plan for rehabilitation is urgent. But there cannot be a uniform plan for the entire state. We have to protect the interests of all landlosers, including bargadars, unrecorded bargadars as well as agricultural workers, and provide them alternative livelihood. We will do it even it’s a hard task.”

The party documents placed at the conference earlier had stressed “adequate compensation, proper rehabilitation and jobs to landlosers”.

But the conference did not draw up concrete guidelines on rehabilitation. State secretary Biman Bose said: “It is not the business of the party. The government will have to ponder over it.”

Asked if the CPM would reconsider its reservations about the Jindal group’s package for landlosers — the company had proposed jobs and shares in the Salboni steel plant if it came up — Bose said it had not been discussed.

Bhattacharjee defended the government’s “courtship of capitalists”, as alleged by allies in the Left Front, saying it was in tune with the party’s decision to seek private-sector support and foreign direct investment for industrialisation.

The chief minister, however, sought to remind the delegates that he was striving to maintain a balance between industry and agriculture.

“Farm production, productivity as well as farm jobs will have to be increased. The government must act fast on the report of the agriculture commission, which will be submitted tomorrow.”

Bhattacharjee said he would leave it to the public to decide whether he was wrong in carrying out the industrial drive.

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