Switch to industry from farm 'fearlessly': CM

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Kolkata, Nov 26 (UNI) West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today advocated the cause for ''moving'' from agriculture to industry, saying the fact that 60 per cent of the state's population depended on farm activities did not reflect a ''good health'' of its economy.

'' We must move from agriculture to industry without any fear. We are trying to erase our mistakes committed in the past. We urge all the stakeholders, including the Opposition, for cooperation. It is not the difference between the CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress. It is in the interest of the state. Unfortunately, the response is very poor,''Mr Bhattacharjee said, while interacting with the members of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here.

According to Mr Bhattacharjee, around 63 per cent of the state's total land area was utilised in farm activities, while the figure representing industry and urban area was only 23 per cent in West Bengal.

''The percentage of fallow land in West Bengal stands at one per cent, against the national average of 17 per cent. Forest land shares the rest, which shall not be touched for other purposes,'' he informed.

While agriculture contributed 26 per cent to the state's economy, the share of industrial sector in this regard was 24, the Chief Minister said, adding the service sector accounted for the rest.

Mr Bhattacharjee felt that the contribution of the state's industrial sector should be raised, stating that the existence of a ''difficult opposition'' was an impediment towards the objective.

He also batted for drafting a proper compensation and rehabilitaion package which should be remunerative for the farmers, since they had no other livelihood and depended entirely on agriculture.

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