Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Biman left to handle impasse by LF allies


Statesman News Service
Kolkata, June 18: Junior Left Front partners have washed their hands of the conflict in Nandigram, leaving the task of resolving the violent impasse there to CPI-M, more specifically to the Left Front chairman and state secretary, Mr Biman Bose and the state administration.
“We are mere onlookers. We are looking at the Left Front chairman and the administration to resolve the impasse,” said the RSP leader, Mr Kshiti Goswami.
He was, however, completely against any kind of police action on grounds that it would lead to worse massacre since both sides, CPI-M and BUPC were armed and the atmosphere in Nandigram was turning out to be a vicious one.
The home secretary, Mr PR Ray too admitted today that both sides were in possession of arms and were flouting the strictures imposed by the police and rumour mills were working overtime leading to fresh tension in the area.
The junior partners, including CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc, had taken initiative to begin the peace process but the all-party meeting attended by Miss Mamata Banerjee fell through.
Mr Goswami, however, chose to give the chief minister a clean chit while indicting the Left Front chairman on the issue. According to Mr Goswami there were no efforts to placate veteran leader Mr Ashok Ghosh who declined to continue his peace efforts in the face of criticism, particularly from quarters perceived to be close to CPI-M.
The chief minister reportedly asked Mr Ghosh to continue his peace efforts saying that calling it off would send out a “ wrong message”. The RSP leader rued that the initiative by the junior partners had seen some success and a follow-up action was required but indicated that certain quarters in the CPI-M was not keen to continue the initiative.
Mr Nirupam Sen, minister for commerce and industry, admitted recently that the ground-swell of opinion against the industrialisation drive is indeed a reality and not merely loud Opposition propaganda.
He also accepted that the compensation being offered to farmers is inadequate. Speaking at a programme organised by Bengal Initiative last week Mr Sen said in the same breath that the opposition to the policy is not as widespread as is being made out to be.
“Had it been so, how could we better our tally in the recent polls ? The media highlighted our loss of Panskura municipality and made us feel as if the people are losing confidence in us. Not all people are against us, but quite a large number of people fear they would be affected,” he said.
“It’s a fact that a section of people are opposed to our present policy of setting up industrial units on farmlands.
“It’s not only the Opposition that’s making all the hullabaloo. Some people too are against us as they fear they would be deprived after land acquisition,” he said.
The minister said the emphasis should be on how better the farmers can be involved and their livelihood upgraded. “This is being done for the Singur project and also the proposed chemical hub at Haldia, ” he said.
He, however, believed offering jobs in the start-up factories won’t be of much help to the farmers.
“Most of them won’t fit in the new industries. Given their poor technical expertise, they would be offered jobs which would demean them,” he said.
The minister urged the Opposition to work together and take forward the industrialisation process.

Chatterjee charge
The chief minister and state administration is not serious about restoring peace at Nandigram, alleged Mr Partha Chatterjee. Mr Chatterjee has written to the PM, requesting him to restore the constitutional rights of the people of Nandigram.