Kamalnath indicts MP's BJP govt on investment front

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Bhopal, Aug 18 (UNI) Union Commerce and Industry Minister Kamalnath today lambasted Madhya Pradesh's Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime for its alleged failure to attract industrial investment.

''Mistrust among industrialists is the key reason for failure of several investors' meets organised during BJP tenure,'' he told reporters here while adding that the state could attract only 1.7 per cent of total investment in the country over the past four-and-a-half years. ''We are much behind most states including Uttar Pradesh with regard to industrial investment,'' he observed.

''The state government could not ensure adequate infrastructure such as power and better roads to attract investors despite the state being bestowed with vast open land,'' he said.

Despite the clamour among all states to open special economic zones (SEZs), Madhya Pradesh could not start any SEZ so far of about a dozen sanctioned by the Centre, the Minister pointed out.

''Farmers from Betul and Balaghat wanted that SEZs be set up in their areas and they were prepared to offer free land for it.

However, the regime lacked the initiative to start SEZs,'' he alleged while adding that Madhya Pradesh remained most backward and neglected.

The Lok Sabha member representing Chhindwara for about three decades claimed that his efforts to improve the lot of peasants had begun yielding results with ryots getting attractive prices on soybean, maize and cotton.

''The higher returns for soybean cultivators is proof of my efforts to develop the state,'' said Mr Kamalnath when asked about his contribution to Madhya Pradesh as Union Commerce and Industry Minister.

Since the state is heading for assembly polls, the BJP government should provide an account of its performance in the four-and-a-half years to the people who, he said, were totally dissatisfied with the saffron party.

''The political atmosphere is emerging in Congress' favour and I am optimistic about the party's return to power in the hustings,'' Mr Kamalnath added.

Taking a dig at Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for laying many foundation stones for projects, he said that the BJP regime could not generate employment opportunities for youth.

Several thousand farmers were humiliated by being lodged in police lockups or jails on the charge of power theft, he pointed out, adding that the state regime failed to check black-marketing and hoarding resulting in galloping inflation. Corruption was rampant and several ministers were under the Lokayukta scanner, he added.

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