Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mamata seeks to return West Bengal to feudal farming

The Times of India recently reported that Chief Minister (of the West Bengal government) Mamata Banerjee is seeking to limit the geographic areas where private businesses can purchase land for improvement. In other words, the government is seeking to limit industrialization to other areas that it designates. Her reasoning is that the areas to be excluded are "fertile" for, presumably, agricultural purposes and she is thus preventing a "food crisis." The areas designated for development include Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum, and West Midnapur.   Evidently, the government doesn't want these developments in North and South 24-Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, and areas of Burdwan, Nadia, and Murshidabad.

Bangla Nation can agree to some of this but disagrees on the principle. The government should be allowed to  ameliorate the impact of private-funded industrialization, for instance, ensuring that tenants of the purchased land are properly compensated and placed in vocational programs (should they opt for it). The government should not wholesale prevent development for isolationist motives.

The Chief Minister incorrectly assumes that "fertile" agricultural land translates to preventing a food crisis. There may very well be a food crisis if the entire state of West Bengal was given to agriculture, some things are out of the government's control. In this case, the best defense against a food crisis is the enrichment and economic development of the population to ensure that they can purchase food that is available. The government's role, besides ensuring the population's enrichment and development, is to make sure food is available from any source whether it be from West Bengal, India, or abroad. And then there is the Maoist question.

I fully support the idea of driving development to "Maoist-infested" districts like Bankura, Purulia, and West Midnapur, however, development without security gains is utterly meaningless. Furthermore, what industrialist would want to invest in such a situation? Equitable economic and human development does need to come to these areas, but so does physical security. West Bengal's and the Centre's security forces should concentrate on carving out relative islands of prosperity that are attractive for development and industrialization programs from private firms. Once investment begins in a relative secure atmosphere, other human development projects can be introduced to ensure more healthcare and education for the residents. This approach not only deals effectively with the Maoist threat, but erodes that group's power base by showing the people who is really looking out for them.

1 comment:

md k ahmed said...

ma mati manush er jai hoyechhe