Pictures with message for Salboni
Salboni, Nov. 2: When Sajjan Jindal took the microphone on stage today, behind him was a sketch of a Bengal village, not an artist’s impression of JSW Bengal Steel Ltd.
On the sides were two huge pictures — one of an old, emaciated village woman and the other of a small girl.
The pictures were positioned to send a message to the people of Salboni, where the foundation stone was laid for the steel plant today.
“The elderly lady depicts the present. The young girl, who is her granddaughter, is the future,” said Biswadip Gupta, joint managing director of JSW Bengal Steel.
Wizcraft, the event manager, said the pictures of the old woman and the girl were taken a few months ago in a village near the plant.
Gupta said the company wanted to bring change into the lives of the residents, particularly the younger generation. “We wanted to connect with local people with the sketch and the photographs. When Wizcraft came up with the idea, we approved it.”
The rural connect mantra assumes significance at a time Tata Motors has moved out of the state because of a land agitation in Singur.
But did the Jindals really connect? Farmer Soumen Marik, who came from a nearby village, said: “I think both the young girl and the old lady are seeking development, which the plant can bring.”
What does the plant mean to him? “We may get jobs here. Farming is not profitable any more,” Soumen said.
The villagers stood in a barren field for over an hour to hear Jindal, Union steel minister Ram Vilas Paswan and state industries minister Nirupam Sen. But it was Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee they liked the best.
“He said there would be 10,000-12,000 jobs. I hope I get one,” said Uttam Chakraborty, a farmer’s son in his 20s.
The chief minister spoke of how the youth needed industry. “Kaaj, kaaj, kaaj, tara chay kaaj (jobs, jobs, jobs; they want jobs),” he said.
Bengal cannot survive only on agriculture, he added. “Can it? No country has been able to do so. We need industry.”
Sajjan Jindal, the vice-chairman and managing director of JSW Steel, spoke to Sambit Saha of The Telegraph after the landmine blast.
I saw it happen in front of my eyes.
I left the venue soon after the media conference. Two Union ministers, Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada, were with me. I was sitting in the front seat of the Toyota Innova. My brother Navin Jindal was behind me in another car.
After 2pm, there was a deafening noise and a flying stone hit our car. I realised it was an explosion and I saw that the pilot car, which was 30 feet ahead of me, was badly hit.
The driver of the pilot car was injured and blood was oozing out. But his condition didn’t look serious to me then. As two central ministers were with me and worried whether it was an ambush, I told my driver to keep moving.
This incident has only strengthened my resolve to set up the plant and do it faster. I am not deterred by it at all. We just have to take extra precaution in the future.
Later, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee called me. He was very worried and asked me if everything was all right. I assured him that it was fine. In fact, I told him that he should take more care of himself.