Despite the "overwhelming" need for industry in West Bengal, the manner in which the state government acquired land for the purpose was a "mistake," Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen has said.
"There is an overwhelming need for industry so that this poor state can flourish again. (But) The way that land was acquired was a mistake. If one needs industry, there has to be land, but acquisition of land should have been the last resort," Sen said at an interaction after the 3rd Annual Penguin Lecture in Kolkata.
Sen said the results of the Lok Sabha election had vindicated the fact that there had been some agitation among the people over the government's policy of land acquisition for industry.
Without naming any party, the economist said the opponents of land acquisition, however, would have to understand that reduction of poverty cannot be achieved by agriculture alone. "This (agriculture) has to go hand in hand with industry."
He said while there were unwilling land losers, there were others who lost the opportunity of being employed in industry. "The question is about bringing this to public debate."
The state had witnessed a large-scale agitation over land acquisition in Singur for the Tata's Nano car project. The unit was later shifted to Gujarat.