Protests won’t be allowed to hinder projects: TMC leader

Report by: 
TAPAN DAS
Kolkata
11 Jan 2017

Ensuring an uninterrupted run for all ongoing and upcoming industrial projects in investment-starved Bengal is proving a Herculean task these days despite repeated emphatic calls and stern warnings by none else than Trinamool supremo and chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

For, sporadic agitation by a section of land-sellers at ITC’s newest food-processing factory in Uluberia (Howrah) a few days ago is a reminder that the practice of raising demand for jobs for former land owners cannot be wished away by sermons and warnings.  Not just those handful agitators, but certain groups providing political patronage to protesters for quick gains needs to be put down firmly. They must be told in no uncertain terms that obstructions such as these against a bona fide Bengal-friendly investor like the ITC are nothing but self-destructive. Apart from food-processing and agro-business, information technology and hospitality industry sectors, ITC has lined up more than Rs. 4,000 crore fresh investments in Bengal.

The state rightly takes pride in being the country’s leading vegetable and horticulture producer, and has very high stakes in ITC’s success in fast emerging India’s premier food-processing, agro-business giant. A huge conglomerate like ITC can surely generate large number of direct and indirect employment opportunities and livelihoods across value-chains, says an industry analyst.  If a global player like ITC , which seriously  trying to shift focus from  tobacco products,  suffers a  jolt in its venture,  the negative message may  have adverse  effect on other investors – existing and prospective. Further investment by SAIL in its Durgapur and Burnpur plants is a strong possibility.  A conducive atmosphere   for a giant like ITC is also important in the context of the state’s emphasis on attracting investments in the IT sector because an IT park at Rajarhat is already on its radar.

However, it might sound music to many ears that a top TMC district leader and cabinet minister has vouched to snuff out any form of destructive protests against time-tested industry houses and investors.