Mukherjee supports Nayachar chemical hub

April 12th, 2009 - 6:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, April 12 (IANS) In a statement that may not exactly be music to the ears of the Trinamoool Congress, its alliance partner Congress’ senior leader Pranab Mukherjee has supported the proposed chemical hub project at West Bengal’s Nayachar island.
Asked about the clearance given by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to the project in East Midnapore district, Mukherjee categorically said: “Yes, we have given the go-ahead. I am a part of the decision. I am a member of the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs which gave the nod to the proposal”.

“I think it (the project) is needed,” Mukherjee, the chief of the Congress’ state unit, said in a live programme on television news channel Star Ananda.

Queried on the Trinamool Congress’ staunch opposition to the setting up of the chemical hub, Mukherjee said: “It is a stated opinion of the Trinamool Congress. But the decision has already been taken”.

The chemical hub was earlier slated to come up at Nandigram in the same district, but the state’s Left Front government relocated the project following much bloodletting over a large section of local residents’ strident opposition to give away their land for the industry.

Later, the government chose Nayachar near Haldia, and the centre gave the nod.

The Trinamool Congress has entered into a seat sharing agreement with the Congress for the coming Lok Sabha polls. Of the 42 seats in the state, the Trinamool is contesting 27, and the Congress 14. The Trinamool has left one seat to its ally, the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI).

Mukherjee, however, criticised the state government for its rigid stance on setting up the Nano plant at Singur in Hooghly district.

“I don’t know whether it was possible or not to shift it. But they should have at least considered if the unit can be relocated. We or for that matter nobody is opposed to industrialisation. But if there is any dispute on land, then either the government should try to solve it through discussions, or shift it to some other place,” Mukherjee said.

Noting that roads or industries cannot come up in the sky, he said: “The rigidity that a particular unit will be set up only at a particular spot, that’s not right”.

The state lost the prized small car Nano project last year after Tata Motors decided to shift the plant from Singur to Sanand in Gujarat following sustained stiff opposition by a section of farmers led by the Trinamool Congress, who were opposed to selling their land for the factory.

Mukherjee also attacked the communists for failing to spread their influence beyond three states. “This is because of their repeated failures in evaluating contemporary situations, be it the Quit India Movement of 1942 or the Congress rule at the centre”.

“I may not be alive then, but I am sure that 15 years down the line they will admit that the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation was the right step”.

The four Left parties - Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India (CPI), Forward Bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) - which had provided crucial outside support to the UPA government after the 2004 general elections, but withdrew their backing over the nuclear deal last year.

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