Special Correspondent

Kolkata: The West Bengal government will not acquire land forcibly for industrial use, State Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta said. He also announced the shelving of a major expressway project in the State, to be implemented by the Salim group.

Speaking after placing the Finance Appropriation Bill, 2009, in the Assembly, he said the State government was emphasising on the industry acquiring land on its own. “The State government will not go in for forcible acquisition of land for industry, who will be encouraged to go for direct purchase of the land according to their need,” Mr. Dasgupta said, allaying fears in this respect.

State help, he said, would be considered in case the investors faced any difficulty Mr. Dasgupta also announced that the 85-km road project from Raichak to Barasat linking the two districts of North and South 24 parganas would not be implemented now. “We do not feel that the project should be implemented at this juncture.” The project’s land requirement was estimated at 3,000 acres.

State Industry Minister Nirupam Sen had said in the House that industrialisation efforts were consistently halted by a handful of people opposed to the faster development of West Bengal.

He said land being a crucial input for prospective investors, the State had to address the issue taking into consideration all the relevant issues, including the interests of all those dependent on agricultural land.

He also said the government was currently working on an improved rehabilitation policy, and would place it in the House once it was completed. It has also taken two major initiatives — land mapping and setting up a land-bank — to reinforce its planned use of land for industrial purpose in a land-critical State such as West Bengal. “These measures will help us to readily identify the locations where land is available for setting up industries on the one hand and offer prospective investors wider choices for selecting land easily and quickly.”