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West Bengal The Heat Is On

Updated: January 15, 2011 3:08 pm

The political climate in West Bengal got a new life over the letter written by P Chidambaram, just four or five months before the assembly election of the state. Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee seems unhappy about the latest announcement by the Chief Electoral Officer, Sunil Kumar Gupta, last month. The point was cleared by the electoral office that election before the month of April or May is not possible. Though the present Railway Minister urged repeatedly for an early election, the announcement implies a regular election schedule for the state.

                The ‘letter-scam’ had been viewed by the two major parties of the state in two different ways. While the opposition Mamta Banerjee-ruled Trinomool Congress found it a political conspiracy of CPI (M) again, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the present Chief Minister of the state described that it was ‘unthinkable’ to be leaked before media. The reason for such a delay was probably an example of the postal failure. Though Bhattacharjee had assured the receiving and replying the same later on.

                It’s been over three decades, from 1977 onwards; West Bengal has been a Marxist citadel. In any democracy, such a long stint in power for any political outfit is unprecedented. But for nearly 35 years, the economic condition of the state remained in despair.

                Allegations on the Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee led state government are innumerable. It is pointed out by the economist, industrialists and intellectuals et all that industries in West Bengal during the red arena have died or run away, the condition of the poor got worsened, new investments are not likely to come compared with the other emerging state in India and as a result, unemployment is rising. Though Left is known to be the party of the proletariat, the Marxian philosophy seems to be limited in the textbook of the schools and colleges of the state today. Nothing much has been done to ameliorate Bengal’s aam admi.

“BJP is growing in strength in West Bengal”   —Sidharth Nath Singh

BJP leader Sidharth Nath Singh, In charge of West Bengal, is an unassuming person, working tirelessly for expanding the mass base of BJP in the state. In an interview to Uday India he talked about various issues concerning BJP and the political situation in West Bengal. Excerpts:

What is the ground situation of BJP in West Bengal?

In the last three-four years BJP is growing in strength and there is huge disenchantment towards the Left parties as they have been ruling for 34 years. Earlier people didn’t even recognised the BJP, but the reality is that today people are not only talking about BJP, also the newspapers are covering our statements, our rallies on the front page, which is a positive development. So there is anti-Left vote, which is now divided between the Trinamool Congress and the BJP.

Does BJP have any plan in future to forge an alliance with the Trinamool Congress?

There is no plan to allying with anybody.

Being a in charge of West Bengal, how are you planning to spread the organisational setup in West Bengal?

Well, that is quite in place, we have 31 districts. In these 31 districts, we have the perfect organisational setup from district level to block level. We have well assigned the booth in-charges too; but there is still a lot of hard work to be done.

Maoists are involved in spreading bloodbath almost everyday. Comment.

In West Bengal, there were workers, who migrated from the Left to the Trinamool Congress. This was the situation almost six months back. But in order to garner more support and to face the challenge of the Left—you can say muscle power in West Bengal—the Trinamool took a lot of help from the Maoists, who were with the Left in the past.

                Therefore, you hear about Kishenji coming up and supporting Mamata. It is also very well known as to what happened in Singur. Mamata was supported by the Maoists. Now communists, in order to dent the influence of Mamata, are using the police as a muscle power in garb of fighting the Maoists. So we are seeing that type of clashes happening in the state.

So in your view, what should be done to tackle the heinous situation in West Bengal?

There is nothing much to say. Once the people of West Bengal throw these two parties out and form the BJP government, this odious situation in the state will come to an end. For we know surely how to tackle the Maoists and other miscreants, as they are only the political muscle power. We have shown this in Bihar, in alliance with JD(U), which is a great example of the defeat of the muscle power of Lalu.

Unfortunately, the declining image of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee placed the Trinamool Congress supremo in the driver’s seat to lead the state in the upcoming days, but one can not ignore the fact that the Left Front was enjoying its power in Bengal for more than three decades without paying any attention to industrialisation. The reality is that the non-reformative policy of the then Chief Minister late Jyoti Basu has shoved the state into the darkness of underdevelopment, unemployment and poverty and it was the failure of the veteran Left leaders to understand that it were the affluent farmers, hailing from the crop-rich Burdwan district, who aspired to come out of the villages but the marginalised ones belonging to Purulia or Bankura did not want to leave their places of origin. As a result in most of the districts, where industrialisation was proposed, the problem of land acquisition started plagued in. The dream of rapid industrialisation by ‘Brand Buddha’ was utterly destroyed, when Tatas left the state and it remained in the form of few shopping malls—appealed only to the so-called creamy layer; not for the masses.

                It is not Buddhadev Bhattacharjee only, but the second or the third tier leaders and the political middlemen for whom the ‘brand Buddha’ image did not worked in the general election 2009. And only for this political mafias and land brokers under the secured shelter of the present state administration, the Buddha image will not work for the upcoming assembly election.


33 Per Cent Growth Rate In Urbanisation As Compared To 21 Per Cent In Country

India today faces a phenomenal demand for housing up to the tune of 25 million housing units in the urban areas. According to Mckinsey Global Institute Study, cities will be central to India’s economic future. By 2030, the nation will have five large states—Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Punjab—that will have more people living in urban areas.

                Per capita spending over housing in India is only about $ 4.0 as against $49 in South Africa, $170 in US and $215 in UK. There is wide potential in India to increase allocation in housing sector. Government of India should declare housing as an industry.

                After taking lead in industry and agriculture sectors, Gujarat is now emerging one of the investment-friendly state in real estate sector. Recently announced township policy by Government of Gujarat has attracted major attention from the real estate sector. The six numbers of projects under implementation from private developers will create 75 million sq ft of built-up spaces in state. These township projects will bring an investment of Rs 13,650 crore in infrastructure only and will house over 2 lakh population.

                Gujarat government has fixed up an outlay of Rs 30 billion in the year 2010-11 in urban development. During the last decade, the state has witnessed a growth rate of 33 per cent in urbanisation as compared to 21 per cent in the country. The budget of Urban Development Department has seen tenfold increase during the last five years. To attract investment and facilitate the needs of hotels and health industries the specific policy is under approval, which would provide higher FSI up to 4 and this shall be permitted in Green Field areas also.

                Gujarat CM Mr Narendra Modi, who was one of the key speakers of 10th National Convention of CREDAI, rightly said that more proactive policy decisions are required on the part of Government of India. Financiers need to support a wide spectrum of developers and come forth to collaborate with them and private developers need to explore how best they can leverage existing technology, construction management process and best practices to achieve on time completion and delivery of their project. The energy-efficient technology and practices in sector are required to be used.

                The state government has taken many initiatives in the sector of urban development programme. Under Swarnim Jayanti Mukhya Mantri Shaheri Vikas Yojana, Gujarat has focused on towns and cities including JNNURM mission cities. Gujarat is the front-runner in implementation of project in country and out of the 69 projects approved, 30 have already been completed. The state has also approved Rs 2050 crores for constructing 1.3 lakh housing for urban poor, out of which 64,000 units have been completed and 33,000 are in progress.

                Gujarat having 1600 km coastal line with large potentiality of port-based industries like ship breaking, ship building etc would attract port-supported coastal town.

                Recently in the 10th National Convention of CREDAI, 28 developers committed to sign MoU for investment of Rs 2500 crore. This shows the state government’s positive approach for investors. The developers are taking keen interest to invest in Gujarat.

                Gujarat’s urban policy is not to develop only big cities but also to develop cluster-based township with facilities of urban infrastructures and keep intact the soul of rural culture. This is the innovative RURBAN concept of Government of Gujarat whereby Rural area is being provided infrastructure facilities and public amenities equivalent to urban cities.

                After industry and agriculture, now Gujarat aims to lead in real estate sector. Dr APJ Kalam, Sharad Pawar and other leaders give the example of Gujarat’s development. Why Gujarat’s growth is higher than National’s growth, the reason is simple—the state government’s proactive and investors’ friendly policy and good governance.

               By Nilesh Shukla

The state Congress at this moment is in a bit pressure with the series of scams and corruption that flushed out last year. Now it is to see whether they remained allied with Trinamool Congress to challenge the red dragon or Mamata Banerjee on her own turf will fight against the 35 years old system.

                Combating against the series of scams and corruption charges, Congress at the centre suggested that BJP and CPI(M) were no different, when it comes to corruption. According to a Congress representative in the political resolution of Congress Plenary last year that the BJP has unleashed a flood of corruption in the political arena just to grab power and demonstrated its moral bankruptcy and political hypocrisy; so too parties like the CPI(M) and others who have actively indulged in corruption in the states under their rule. Is Congress looking forward to fight against the BJP-CPI(M) alliance in the coming assembly election in West Bengal?

                Well, time will say. But it seems that the political essays and calculations are going to be rewritten in 2011.

 By Samarpita Roy from Kolkata


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