One battle lost, not the war: Buddha on Nano (Lead)

October 5th, 2008 - 7:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Oct 5 (IANS) Dubbing his state’s opposition parties as “irresponsible” for their actions that prompted Tata Motors to pull out from Singur, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Sunday exuded confidence that the state might have lost one battle, but not the war. “Unfortunately, the state has a very irresponsible opposition. But I believe one battle is lost, but the war is not lost. We must fight,” Bhattacharjee said in his first public comment after Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata Friday announced the withdrawal of the Nano project that has thrown into uncertainty the state’s future on the industrial front.

Bhattacharjee, however, said the majority of the people were “right thinking” and were not happy over the small car project moving out of the state.

“Majority of the people in the state are right thinking. And they know what should be our future. They are not happy because just before the (Durga Puja) festival, Tata Motors has withdrawn their Nano project,” Bhattacharjee said.

“And we want to go about with our heads held high once again.”

But he conceded that the automobile major’s decision had sent a “serious message” about the state across the country.

“A serious message has gone all over India - what is happening in West Bengal?” he asked at the foundation stone laying ceremony of a technology-centric special economic zone (SEZ) here.

Referring to the Trinamool Congress-led opposition, whose sustained and often-violent agitation forced Tata Motors to wind up its plant in Singur, the chief minister said it had failed to understand the importance of industrialisation.

“Why is the opposition failing to understand the importance of industrialisation?” he asked.

Bhattacharjee reiterated that though West Bengal ranked best in the country in agriculture, the state’s economy needed industry for further growth.

“Our agricultural scenario is the best in the country. Agricultural growth rate is the highest in India. After our success in agriculture, we our trying to bring in industrialisation in the state”.

He said economy could not depend on agriculture only, and that the youth of the state wanted industry and business.

Bhattacharjee came out in support of globalisation, but said developing countries needed a level playing field.

“In this competitive world, globalisation is a must. You cannot stop it. The only point we are trying to make is that developing countries should get a level playing ground.”

“Without that globalisation is not possible, as it will be one-sided and the developed countries will benefit at the cost of developing countries,” he said.

The chief minister said the central government was doing its best to improve the country’s growth rate.

The chief minister Sunday laid the foundation stone of the Orion Techcity, a 155-acre commercial and integrated SEZ, to come up at Rajarhat, northeast of the city. It is expected to attract around $1.2 billion in investments, staggered over a 10-year period.

The first phase is slated to be completed by 2011.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, also present at the function, said India has set an export target of Rs.1,250 billion from SEZs this year. Earnings from SEZs stood at Rs.660 billion last year.

He said that altogether 250,000 jobs have been created in various SEZs.

Mukherjee and Japanese ambassador Hideaki Domichi also laid the foundation stone for a 25-acre ‘Japan village’ that will serve as a self-sufficient ‘Zen Paradise’.

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