Buddha reaches out to industrialists

April 1st, 2008 - 8:54 pm ICT by admin  

Coimbatore, April 1 (IANS) Living up to his image as the poster boy of Left’s reform agenda, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Tuesday urged industrialists in Tamil Nadu to invest in his state. Even as the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) congress continued here, Bhattacharjee and his cabinet colleague Nirupam Sen met members of the Southern India Mills Association (SIMA) and representatives of the automobile components industry in Coimbatore.

The industrialists sought assurances from the chief minister that there would not be any labour problems saying they were “not very impressed” with the record of CPI-M-ruled West Bengal and Kerala.

According to party sources, Sen assured the delegation led by K. Selvarajan, general secretary of SIMA, a trouble-free investment climate in West Bengal.

The industrialists also sought uninterrupted quality power.

Bhattacharjee’s moves is significant because the chief minister admitted at the party congress that his government could not give “enough job opportunities” for women and the poor though there was plenty of private investment.

According to Selvaraju, the delegation sought flexible labour laws in West Bengal. They also sought at least 50 percent subsidies in the transportation cost of cotton, which is sourced from the western parts of the country.

“Like Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal should also place textile industry in the list of public utility services. This will ensure that there won’t be any problem with trade unions and production won’t be hampered by illegal strikes,” he said.

Bhattacharjee’s assurance came even as CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat said the party would resist “anti-worker” reforms.

However, according to sources in the CPI-M, Karat agrees with Bhattacharjee that the Left-ruled states should have more private investments.

In his reply to the discussion on draft political resolution Karat was quoted as saying: “We have to get private investments. If Kerala doesn’t get it, Karnataka will take it away.”

The CPI-M, which opposes foreign direct investment in the retail sector, has asked party-ruled states to formulate special guidelines and a licensing policy for retail giants.

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