Bengal must find suitable solution to land acquisition issue: Governor

Haldia (West Bengal), Jan 17 (IANS) West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan Thursday said the Mamata Banerjee government has to find out a "suitable solution" to the land acquisition problem and reminded it of the "major responsibility" to restore confidence in industrialists.

The governor, however, hailed the Trinamool Congress government for taking several measures to attract investment in the state despite some "hiccups".

Speaking at the valedictory session of the second edition of "Bengal Leads" , an investors' summit, organised by the state government here in East Midnapore district, Narayanan said the government had the "responsibility" to find out "suitable solutions" to land and land acquisition for industries.

"Both the government and the industrialists will need to be judicious for acquisition of suitable land since it is often difficult to acquire agricultural land. A joint effort by government and industry is required," he observed.

Urging the Trinamool government as well as the entrepreneurs to chalk out a "middle path" for land acquisition in the state, he said: "We only require you (investors) to also be sensible of the reality that the state cannot foregone other sectors, specially agriculture."

The governor's comment assumes much significance in the wake of the Banerjee government's stand to stick to its land policy, which decrees no state role in land acquisition for industrial projects and asks businessmen to buy land outright from its owners.

Even in the face of severe resentment over the government's land policy, Banerjee has stuck to it.

Narayanan also pointed out that it was a major responsibility of the government to restore confidence in investors.

"I think it (improvement in industrial relation) clearly needs a detailed attention. A major responsibility of the government would be to restore confidence in industrialistsI am sure that it would be attended too," he averred.

Describing the "Bengal Leads" as a suitable platform for the government to explain the opportunities to be provided to the potential investors, he also observed that "much have been made in the absence of top names of the industry".

While the government had sent invites to several leading business houses and industry captains, including the Tata Group, to attend the business summit, many of them gave a cold shoulder to the meet.

The governor, however, came to the support of the present dispensation on industry front and hailed its efforts like setting up of a land bank, announcing a new IT policy and commencing e-governance, to attract investment.

"The state of West Bengal now ranks sixth in the overall growth in the country. In terms of governance, the state ranks second These facts cannot and should not be ignored. Despite skepticisms in some circles, Bengal is already on the growth trajectory," he clarified.

Stating that comparisons being made in some quarters of the media with Gujarat in regards to attract major investments were something "invidious", Narayanan said Bengal has already taken steps to facilitate investment. "I am aware that several issues have already been raised in this connection."

In apparent reference to the chief minister's view that the state's economy was ruined during the 34-year-long rule of the erstwhile Left Front, the governor said the economy had been "stagnant" for almost three decades and urged entrepreneurs to invest here.

"Bengal offers you a strategic partnership. The state is fully aware of its responsibilities," he added.

--Indo-Asian New Service

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