Singur Talks Fail

Rata Tata with Nano

Talks between Mamta Banerjee and the West Bengal government have failed. Mamata is adamant on her demand for returning 350 acres land to the farmers while the government was offering only 70 acres.

Mamata Banerjee

The communist government in West Bengal is getting a taste of its own policy of opposing the developmental activities in other states where it is in the opposition. Hopefully this experience will make them realise their mistake.

Tatas have already made it clear that they need the entire land and they will not compromise on this requirement. Politicians have to understand that business can not be run by their whims and fancies.

In a way, it is good that this has happened to a Tata project because Tatas are one of the very few business houses in India who enjoy a clean image. Otherwise it would have been very easy for the politicians and NGOs to put the entire blame on the project sponsor. Meanwhile, Infosys has also announced that they may also pull out from West Bengal. This is another blow to the government and specially the WB Chief Minister who is trying very hard to reform the negative culture in the Communist camp.

Ironically the communist party is spearheading the agitation against the Pasco Steel Project in Orissa where the Rs. 52,000 Crore project has failed to take off for the last three years. Recently, Laxmi Mittal also expressed his unhappiness over the lack of support for his projects in Orissa and Jharkhand. Here also, land acquisition is one of the main problems being faced by Mittal’s projects.

A new Land Acquisition Bill was introduced in the Parliament early this year but so far it has failed to see the light of the day. The Central Government was hoping to get it passed in the Monsoon Session but the Government had to put everything at the back burner due to withdrawal of support by the left parties on the Nuclear Deal issue. Incidentally, the current Land Acquisition Act dates back to 1894 and obviously needs a major overhaul very badly. There is very little hope of getting the bill passed because all political parties seem to have got into the election groove now.

Similarly, the much touted New Mineral Policy Bill also could not be passed during the monsoon session and will have a similar fate. In spite of all the big talks of promoting development, the governments both at centre and states have done very little to remove the hurdles in the path of development.

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