The Bengal government is renegotiating a three-year-old agreement with the Salim Group of Indonesia under which it undertook to make available about 35,000 acres of land for several industrial and infrastructure projects.
The old agreement — the state’s biggest ever — will be trashed. There will be a new agreement in its stead minus the special economic zones, townships and the 100-km Barasat-Raichak expressway.
The new agreement, likely to be signed before the Durga Puja begins (late September), may bring down the land requirement to a fraction of the 34,400 acres envisaged in the original document.
The state had allowed the group to set up chemical-industrial estate”, spread over 10,000 acres, in Nandigram as part of the agreement, also known as the New Kolkata International Development deal. But the locals resisted land acquisition and 14 people were killed in police firing on March 14, 2007.
Signed on March 31 2006, the agreement specified East Midnapore as location for the ‘chemical hub’.
How different will the new agreement be? While Industry Secretary Sabyasachi Sen said, “We still don’t have anything much to say,” Prasun Mukherjee of Universal Success, a partner in the deal, responded to emailed queries, saying, “You can quote me, we know nothing about this.”
Sources, however, say the new agreement will drop clauses relating to the SEZs and the townships at Bhangar, Baruipur and Kukrahati. However, it will incorporate the deep-sea port, considered a necessary for the proposed chemical hub.