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The land of farmers will not be taken without their consent

Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh, 59, has been at the helm of affairs for most part since this tribal-dominated region was carved out of Madhya Pradesh as a new state in November 2000. Last December, Singh completed eight straight years in office. Ejaz Kaiser talks to him about a range of issues.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2012 22:27 IST

How is Chhattisgarh doing on the economic front?

The state domestic product is growing at 11.5%. Today, Chhattisgarh is second in terms of per capita power consumption. It accounts for 10% of the national consumption of cement. We utilise 60% of our own resources to propel development and the state’s economy is growing. Over the next three years, R17,000 crore would be invested in power generation.

What problems did you face after taking over as CM?

When it was a part of Madhya Pradesh, this region remained neglected. Lack of development, poverty alleviation and countering naxalism were issues that needed immediate attention and effective judicious planning. Based on what my government initiated and accomplished, the people gave us a second term in office.

The public distribution system (PDS) has turned into one of your major success stories...

We have shown how PDS can work and deliver as an effective institution. We strengthened monitoring at every level to prevent corruption in the system and checked leakages. It is an interim achievement. The ultimate goal is to ensure nutritional security for all. The success of the scheme is also reflected in improved infant mortality and maternal mortality rates. More importantly, it has reduced migration from millions to just a few thousands.

What other issues have you taken up on priority?

Girl child education, health, infrastructure and e-governance are some of the areas where the government remains focused and has accomplished commendable results.

What is your take on the controversies over allotment of farm land for industry?

There are a few patches in Janjgri-Champa, Raigarh and other areas which are agricultural land. But this is just .02 % of the total farming land of the state. Usually, government-owned and barren land is allowed for industrial projects. Besides the consent of farmers is a must before any part of their land is taken.

There are allegations that the state government is covertly bringing in MNCs to mineral-rich Maoist-affected areas...

These are baseless charges. Neither are we signing any MoUs with any MNC, nor are they in line for these areas.

Are you doing more good as a politician than a doctor?

When I was a practicising doctor, I could make a difference to a handful of people. As a chief minister my efforts and vision touches lakhs of people.

First Published: Jan 29, 2012 22:22 IST