Trade unions must avoid militant and destructive agitations: Bhattacharya

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Kolkata, Mar.20 (ANI): West Benagal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya today cautioned trade unions against militant and destructive, agitations and said blind adherence to a charter of demands, while neglecting industrial concerns, won't push the state forward.

He said the trade unions have to realize that if industries collapsed due to their agitations, the workers would be the ones losing jobs.

Taking industries forward is not just the headache of employers but also the responsibility of trade unions, Bhattacharya said, while addressing the gathering at the 'State Summit - The Way Forward, 2010' here.

He also assured the industrialists present that times were changing and militant trade unionism was no longer the flavour of the day.

He also made it clear that despite all the problems related to land acquisition for industries in the state, West Bengal has garnered investments of over Rs 7000 crore in 2009.

The Chief Minister also underlined the fact that the state's agricultural growth was sustained at four percent even while the national average fell to 1.07 percent.

He also pointed out that even during the recession, West Bengal managed a growth rate touching eight percent when the national average fell to six to seven percent.

Bhattacharya, however, stressed the need to promote industrial growth further.

He said that currently the State Domestic Product (SDP) comprised 22 percent agriculture, 18 percent industry and 59 percent services sector.

The industry contribution needed increase and setting up of more industries was the only answer, he added.

The chief minister said his government realized that industries can be set up only on agriculture land in West Bengal because of the existing land distribution scenario.

With a fallow land share of a mere one percent, while agriculture took up 60 percent, urban areas and industry took up 24 percent, forests made up 13 percent and the rest comprising water bodies etc, the government has no alternative but to acquire agriculture land for industries.

However, some lessons are well learnt, he pointed out, adding that the government has chalked up a land acquisition policy which would ensure that multi-crop land remained untouched as far as possible, the farmers get a competitive remunerative price and also the best possible area-specific rehabilitation package, including employment opportunities.

The chief minister reiterated that the West Bengal Government was committed to its industrial policy and would move forward in bringing down the disparity between industries and other sectors in the SDP.

The summit will also have discussions on women empowerment and role of media in national building. By Ajitha Menon (ANI)

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