Refuting CM’s charge, Mishra blames her for flight of capital

Mamata Banerjee herself is responsible for the flight of capital from West Bengal to other States, CPI(M) leader Surya Kanta Mishra said on Tuesday, hitting back at the Chief Minister for blaming the Opposition for industrial decline in the State.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Banerjee, addressing a business summit at Haldia, compared the investment potential of West Bengal and Gujarat, and said an “excess of politics” and the culture of bandhs and strikes were a deterrent to investments here.

“Gujarat has an additional advantage because of a contribution made by our Chief Minister. She successfully drove the Nano car factory away from Singur and exported it to Sananda in Gujarat. After the start of the small car factory there, many new automobile units have set up base in Gujarat,” Dr. Mishra, who is Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, told journalists here.

The development model the Left Front government pursued over the past 34 years was different than that followed in Gujarat. It gave the utmost priority to human development, he said.

Moreover, he said, Gujarat lagged behind West Bengal in certain aspects of human development, malnourishment among children in that State ranking higher on the global hunger index.

“It is for our Chief Minister to opt for one of the two models,” Dr. Mishra said.

On land acquisition for setting up industries, Dr. Mishra said: “Not even an inch of land being given to industrialists has been acquired by the Trinamool government. It is giving them from the land bank created by the Left Front government.”

“The State government will not acquire land but those behind the party [Trinamool] will acquire land, fix its price. This is their policy.”

Investment projects

Dr. Mishra raised questions about the fate of large-scale projects approved by the Left Front government. “What will happen to the land at Singur? She was speaking about a joint project by the Railways and SAIL [Steel Authority of India Limited], what happened to that?”

The former Industries Minister, Nirupam Sen, said all projects Ms. Banerjee referred to at the business summit were conceived under the previous government.