The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is vertically divided over the question of allotting agricultural lands to private parties for establishing new industries in West Bengal so that employment openings can be created. Apparently there is nothing wrong in it. But the people who can see through the game behind it are very much upset with this so called innocent proposal of allotting agricultural land for industrial use. Among them, their own party men like former Finance Minister of West Bengal Dr. Ashok Mitra and the present Land & Land Revenue Minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah are their who opposed the action of the government openly. While opposing the proposals of the left front government, Dr. Mitra raised certain valid questions?a) why this government has preferred Salim industrial group of Indonesia for industrialising the state? I hope Buddhadeb must have an idea or definite information about the dirty role played by Salim as a henchman of Suharto who as President of Indonesia involved in extortions of poor people of that country. b) Why such an extortionist is allowed to establish industry in West Bengal? c) When land grabbing has assumed a big business proposition, because increase in worldwide population in almost geometrical progression has made the land-price sky-high and it is going on increasing everyday. Has it been ascertained that there is no such motive as to grab the land?
In fact Dr. Mitra has smelled rat in the whole deal. In an article under the title ?TIMIRVINASHI? or ?TIMIRVILASI? (Is it for dispelling darkness or for enjoying it) published in CPI'slabour wing'sorgan ?Shramjeevee? (June 2006 issue), he wrote that in the name of industrialisation the government is simply bluffing the people. He further cautioned by saying that these industrialists of foreign origin have promised so many things and a very few have started the implementing process. This dilly-dallying tactics will go on till they get land. Dr. Mitra is very much apprehensive about the integrity of these industrialists. According to them by investing Rs. 50,000 crores, if they create only 500 employments in the face of huge unemployment, will it not be a mockery of the whole project? Dr. Mitra is definite that once these foreign investors get land they will not look back to the government of West Bengal.
On the other hand present Land & Land Revenue Minister, Mr. Abdur Rezzak Mollah has given a clarion call to the general public irrespective of their party affiliation to come forward to stop this suicidal industrial policy. He said that by surrendering agricultural land for industrialisation would simply put us in great trouble. Food security of this state is already at stake. On the floor of Vidhan Sabha, Mr. Mollah has said that we have already surrendered 4lakh acres of agricultural land for industrialisation & urbanisation over the last few decades. But at the same time, we have transformed 3 lakh acres of fallow land into agricultural land. It simply means 1 lakh acres of agricultural are lost. This has already had its cumulative effect on the economy of the state. We have been forced to import food grains.
In his opinion, our industrial policy has lost its direction. It is admitted that for growth and prosperity, industrialisation is necessary. But should it be done at the cost of agriculture? Actually we were in need of a policy where agro-based industry would have been very effective as they were labour-intensive. The Minister openly called for a public resistance to stop the misguided industrial policy of the state.
There are certain other valid points which should also be considered in this connection. During the tenure of Left Front Government in this state (30 years? uninterrupted stay) more than 1 lakh industries and factories including big and small. They held a total land area of 40,000 acres. Why these huge lands are not acquisitioned by the government for the purpose of establishing new industries? Or otherwise why they are not compelling the proprietors to reopen their industries or factories? In fact the state government does not enjoy such authority over those industrialists. Then the question of legal complications is also there. Taking everything into consideration, people wonder, why there was no such move taken either by the government or by the ruling party to make the industrialists of the state understand that to ward off the problem of unemployment their help is necessary.
Actually, the government is not sincere in their approach. They want to follow the rules of globalisa-tion. But they do not bother to introspect the typicality of our unemployment problem. May be for this particular reason, they are going to throw at least 75,ooo working hands into dustbin. The state government has decided to engage at least 8 leading consultancy firms in the study of closure or radical financial restructuring of 23 sick and heavily loss-making public sector units (PSUs) to ensure more transparency.
With the future of nearly 75,000 employees to be affected in case of a sell-off or hive-off through joint ventures or closure, the state want to tread cautiously. The decision follows resentment among affected workers and criticisms from left trade unions in the first phase of PSU restructuring.
In that round, only one consultancy firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) had been engaged. PwC was recruited reportedly on the advice of the UK'sDepartment for International Development (DFID) which provided a grant of Rs. 230 crore for the restructuring and closure of 26 sick PSUs.
The firm had advised the government to retain 4 loss-making PSUs after a drastic reduction of about a thousand in the work force and debt write-off Rs. 815 crore. The remaining were hived off or closed down and the employees retrenched with a compensation package.
So this is how the left front government of West Bengal is moving. At one time this CPI (M) used to talk of extreme communism. And now they have become extreme capitalist. For making money, they now want to sell off everything. They are least bothered about any problem of the people let alone the unemployment problem. Their only concern is to stick to the seat of power.