Bengal CM regrets 'tit for tat' remarks | india | Hindustan Times
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Bengal CM regrets 'tit for tat' remarks

Buddha admits the state Govt failed administratively and politically in handling the issue, reports Srinand Jha.

india Updated: Dec 04, 2007 22:25 IST
Srinand Jha

Apologising for having said that those opposing land acquisition in Nandigram had been paid back in the same coin, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya conceded on Tuesday that the Left Front government had failed administratively and politically in handling the issue there, while adding that it had now learnt its lessons. “ I want peace and normalcy to return at Nandigram – peace for all sections of people”, the Chief Minister said at a press conference.

Bhattacharya said major rehabilitation schemes for Nandigram were lined up – even as the state government has initiated welfare schemes worth Rs 1 crore for the repair/reconstruction of houses and towards building bridges and roads. Utensils, clothing and mini farming kits including fertilizers have also been supplied, he said.

Bhattacharya does want to visit Nandigram, but is awaiting the return of the team of bureaucrats that has been sent to the area. Based on the report of the officials, I will announce other developmental schemes for Nandigram and will also tour the area shortly, he said.

Reiterating that Maoists from Jharkhand and elsewhere had attempted to entrench themselves in Nandigram, he said the CRPF has been doing a good job in unearthing the cache of ammunitions and landmines that Maoists had left behind. About protests of writers and intellectuals, he said that such individuals were “sensitive people” and that it was his responsibility to convince them about the Left Front stand. “Many of them (intellectuals) have already been convinced, he said.

Refusing to be drawn into the Taslima Nasreen controversy, the Chief Minister said it was for the Union Government to take a decision about possible extension of the visa of the exiled Bangladeshi writer who has been residing at a safe house in New Delhi’s outskirts after being shifted out of Kolkata. He said he had been in touch with the External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on the Taslima question. While on the subject, he remarked “some forces were trying to divide West Bengal on communal lines, but would never succeed”. His assertion being that “nobody could sow the seeds of communalism in West Bengal”.

Referring to last evening’s meeting with senior BJP leader LK Advani, the Chief Minister said that he had sought support from the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha on the Gorkha Hill Council bill. “We have no quarrel with the contents of the bill, but the manner in which the UPA government was attempting to push through the legislation was not correct”, he said – while informing that he had briefed External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister Shivraj Patil on the issue. The bill – scheduled for introduction today – has been deferred.

Bhattacharya asserted that Nandigram had not adversely impacted the investment climate in the state and said that no corporate house or industrial group within the country or outside had expressed a desire to withdraw from the state. Investments had been coming in from companies based in the United States, Japan, Dubai and Singapore, he said.

Bhattacharya said that the proposed chemical hub at Nandigram would now come up at Nayachar – an area that does not have any habitation and nor is the land arable.

he said that he had briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the largest private steel plant of the country - to be established by the Jindal group in the Salboni area - and that the Prime Minister had accepted his invitation to lay the foundation stone of the project in January end. He said two more steel plants were coming up at Purulia and Bardhaman, while a biotech park was being established by IIT, Kharagpur, in collaboration with the University of Berkeley.

He also briefed the Prime Minister on the progress of the establishment of a deep-sea port in the state. Shipping and Surface Transport Minister T R Baalu is scheduled to visit Kolkata shortly to discuss the project.

On his relations with state Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi, he said the Governor was a "very nice man" and that he has had a very cordial relation with him. "There has been no problem (with him) at all. We not only discuss administrative and political issues but literature also. We also exchange books," he said.