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Rabi Banerjee
Rabi Banerjee


We want to negotiate with Tata


Interview/ Partha Chatterjee, secretary-general of Trinamool Congress

If the Trinamool Congress returns to power, what would be your focus?

There is no if. We have already come back to power. This time, our focus would be human development.

Will there be big-ticket investments?

Definitely. That would be our primary aim.

Bengal is lagging behind in industrial development.

We are not lagging behind. We are number one in the growth of small and medium enterprises in India. There is a slowdown of big industries in the world. We cannot be isolated from that. No big investment is taking place in India.

Acquiring land is a major issue for you.

Yes. But we are going to sort that out. We have created a land bank, but the land is at places far from Kolkata. Investors don’t want to go there.

You will have to improve infrastructure then.

We are doing that. We have created major roadways. More urban bodies would be created. We are also air-connecting parts of Bengal with Kolkata.

Other than attracting investments and acquiring land, what is your biggest concern?

It is the CPI(M) rule of 34 years. A bad environment and notion were created about Bengal, which even we did not find easy to alter. Our chief minister stopped loss of work and called for a complete halt of bandh. An environment for investments has now been created. A USP for us is that our administrative chief and party chief are the same. So [there is] a single window. Just meet our CM and get the clearance.

Will you negotiate with Tata in Singur?

I am in favour of it. I can assure you that even for Mamata Banerjee, Tata is not an enemy.... We will invite them to come and invest in Bengal. We have good relations with companies like Tata Steel, Tata Tea and Tata Hitachi. As far as Singur is concerned, we want to negotiate out of court. But I will urge them to make the first move, which they are not interested as of now.

Many Trinamool leaders were caught taking bribes on camera. An internal inquiry is on, but why not an inquiry by an investigating agency?

We will have to verify whether our partymen are really guilty or not....Our leader will not spare anyone who is found guilty.

You said you would probe the role of Sitaram Yechuri of the CPI(M), Ahmed Patel of the Congress and Siddharth Nath Singh of the BJP in the issue. How can your party inquire into the role of others?

We will not recommend punishment for them. That is not within our jurisdiction. We will just find out their role.

If it is found that these leaders conspired against your partymen, would you order an inquiry by a government agency?

We will cross that bridge when the time comes.

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