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'Not just me, party too is responsible for Nandigram'
January 17, 2008 22:39 IST
Facing flak from his own party for the acquisition of farmland for industry and the Nandigram [Images] issue, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Friday defended his government's industrial policy and made it clear that the responsibility for Nandigram was not that of the administration alone but also of his party Communist Party of India-Marxist.
He told the state party conference that West Bengal now stood at the crossroads and there was no prior model for industrialisation available to it.
''The whole world and whole of India are watching the experiment in our state. Our programme is practical, justified. We will create a new Left history in West Bengal," he said.
''There is potential (for industrialisation). There is resistance as well. The party has to move forward with courage... The people will decide who is wrong, who is right,'' he said during a discussion on 'Left Front government, panchayat, municipality and our work' on the concluding day of the state conference.
He admitted procedural lapses but said alternative livelihood would be found for those whose land would be acquired.
Describing Nandigram as an exception, Bhattacharjee said it did not reflect the picture of the entire state. There was massive response from the people from different districts for industry and infrastructure, he said.
Acknowledging that many were not with the party, he said, "We will have bring them to our fold."
Land acquisition for industrial projects in the backdrop of Nandigram and Singur figured in a big way at the party conference with many delegates questioning the way farmland was acquired.
The chief minister said that the responsibility for Nandigram was not his alone but of the party as well.
Bhattacharjee ruled out going back on industrialsation drive and said the aim of the project was not to make some people multi-millionaires but to create employment.
He said small and medium industries had to be set up through big industries. "In this way, more potential will be generated for employment."
On rehabilitation, Bhattacharjee said it was very important but it could not be the same for the entire state. However, the interest of share croppers, unregistered share croppers and agriculture labourers whose land is to be acquired would be protected. Alternative arrangement for livelihood for all has to be made. "This task is difficult but we will accomplish it. But along with it, a massive political campaign has to be undertaken," he said.
Explaining the direction of the state's development programme, Bhattacharjee said West Bengal has to move forward in agriculture further. Agricultural productivity, income of farmers and employment in agriculture had to be increased.
Party patriarch Jyoti Basu urged the partymen to be united and move forward.