Saturday, December 15, 2007

Land acquisition worries Centre

Pranesh Sarkar
KOLKATA, Dec. 10: The Centre intends to acquire land in West Bengal for its various development projects but is apparently worried about its success after the violence in Singur and Nandigram over the state government’s move in that direction to set up SEZs.
The Centre’s intention became clear when Mr TR Balu, Union shipping minister, announced at a city hotel yesterday that the government was keen to set up a shipyard on Sagar Island and develop a port in Diamond Harbour. Earlier, he held a long discussion with the chief minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.
The minister later said that the shipyard project would require more than 1000 acres of land. A major portion of the required land has to be acquired by the state government. “The chief minister has assured me that the required plots will be acquired without any trouble. But acquisition of land has become troublesome throughout the country. But we are hopeful about this project,” said Mr Balu.
The minister also said that the Centre was keen to develop the eastern and western costs of the country. As part of this effort, the Centre has urged all the coastal states to submit their proposals under this project. Responding to the call, West Bengal submitted a proposal to set up a shipyard in Sagar Island. The Centre has primarily okayed the Rs 2000-crore project and the shipping minister had a detailed discussion with the chief minister in this
regard yesterday.
Mr Balu hinted that during his meeting with the chief minister the land acquisition issue was discussed. MrBhattacharjee assured him of all cooperation. The Union minister said a port would be developed in Diamond Harbour to only handle containers.