Special Correspondent

Industrialisation not at the cost of land reform programme

NEW DELHI: Ahead of its Polit Bureau meeting this weekend, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has pointed out that industrialisation was given foremost priority in the electoral agenda of the Left Front in the West Bengal Assembly elections last year. Arguing that industrialisation of the State has become an "urgent necessity", the party has - in an article posted on its website - stated that "this drive towards industrialisation will not be at the cost of the land reform programme and further efforts towards improving agriculture".

The article has been written as a rebuttal of the interim report of the Citizens Committee on Singur and Nandigram, which was released on January 29. After putting up a point-by-point defence of its position on land acquisition in Singur for the Tata car project and Nandigram for setting up a Special Economic Zone, the CPI (M) described the fact-finding team as "politically-driven" and its report made a "travesty of truth".

On the two projects which will come up for discussion at the Polit Bureau meeting, the CPI (M) position is that the rehabilitation of the people whose livelihood will be affected as a result of such conversion is a critical issue. "The State Government has made it abundantly clear that no land will be acquired without adequate consultation and without ensuring an improved alternative livelihood security for the affected people.'' Advocating a "more vigorous push towards industrialisation of the State" since agriculture in West Bengal cannot escape the adverse effects of the "overall anti-people policy orientation of the Central Government", the CPI(M) counter dwells on the fact that the Left Front articulated its plans on industrialisation clearly during the elections.