Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Forward Bloc against SEZs in West Bengal

Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: Forward Bloc is against any move to set up special economic
zones (SEZs) in West Bengal.

"It is not a question of [whether they are set up] on agricultural or
non-agricultural land," general secretary of the party's State committee
Ashok Ghosh said.

By this, the party seems to have gone one step further than other Left
parties on the matter - others having confined their opposition to
setting up of SEZs on agricultural land and demanding amendments to
legislation related to such zones.

"Under no circumstances will we allow SEZs to come up in the State... We
will also launch a nation-wide campaign on the issue. We have made our
views on the matter known to the Left Front committee and are
reiterating it here today," he said.

Mr. Ghosh was referring to talks between the State Government and Salim
Group over the setting up of SEZs in parts of South 24 Parganas district
and Nandigram area of Purbo Medinipur where six persons were killed in
group clashes on January 6-7.

Despite an assurance from Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee shortly
after the incident that there would no acquisition of land for the
proposed SEZ till discussions are held with leaders at the panchayat
level, Nandigram had been tense, he said.

There were reports of clashes between CPI (M) supporters and those
opposing the project in the Khejuri area on the outskirts of Nandigram.
Police were unable to enter the village to restore order, as people dug
up the road leading to it on Sunday.

"We are not against setting up of industries. We only insist that the
industrialisation process should be undertaken in deference to specific
[socio-economic] conditions prevalent in India," he said.

The Trinamool Congress organised an hour-long "chakka jam" across the
State during the day in protest against re-imposition of prohibitory
orders at Singur.


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