West Bengal to appoint foreign experts for Nayachar study

February 25th, 2008 - 5:36 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, Feb 25 (IANS) The West Bengal government is trying to rope in some foreign experts to conduct a feasibility study for the proposed chemical hub at Nayachar Island in the East Midnapore district of West Bengal. According to reports, the six member committee will soon be joined by consultants from the US, Europe and Japan to prepare the feasibility report on Nayachar, a 54 sq km estuary on the Hooghly riverbed.

Meanwhile, members of the environmental expert committee, led by former Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) chairman Subir Raha, Monday visited the 16,000-acre Nayachar Island for the first time.

“We have come to Nayachar to look into the environmental aspects of the island. We will include our findings in the report,” Pranabesh Sanyal, a member of the expert team, told IANS.

Indonesia’s Salim group-led anchor developer New Kolkata Industrial Development (NKID), which will set up the Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) on the island, had already engaged a Singapore-based consultant, Jurong Township Corporation, to conduct a study there.

The expert’s body had also given an approval to the Nayachar chemical hub project in its preliminary report.

NKID comprises three companies: the Salim Group of Indonesia, Universal Success of Singapore and Delhi-based Unitech.

But the main opposition party in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress, had cried foul over Jurong’s appointment and said the report on Nayachar was not good enough.

“The environmental implications of the project would be enormous,” Trinamool Congress leader Partha Chatterjee said.

The study, conducted by the state government-appointed expert’s team, will also have inputs from scientists at the Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS), Pune.

Earlier, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) had visited the site and conducted a study on the Nayachar Island.

The West Bengal government had selected Nayachar after being forced to make a move from Nandigram, the site first chosen for a chemical hub, following an uprising by villagers against the displacement the project would cause and the March 14, 2007 police firing that killed 14 people and left over a hundred injured. Clashes in Nandigram went on throughout 2007.

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