Kolkata, Dec 18: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was found wooing investors by offering 90,000 acres from the state's land bank, but government documents showed that the bank does not include a single big tract of land.
According to records collected from various districts and state departments, the land and land reforms department has 59,000 acres while the quantity of land available with 41 departments is 31,000 acres. Thirteen more departments were yet to submit their reports. A senior official said the departments were sent a strong reminder last month but yet there was no prompt response. He said it was likely that the Dec 31 deadline would be missed.
The official said not a single large tract of land, like the one that was acquired in Singur by the previous Left Front government to set up the Tata car factory, was available.
He said the reason for this non-availability is mainly because the land in Bengal is mostly very fertile. He added that except the barren areas in districts like Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore, it is difficult to find even a 100-acre land lying unused anywhere in the state. "We should look at clusters of small industries," he said.
The Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee, which had come to power in West Bengal after toppling the 34-year-old Left Front government, had declared in its manifesto that it would not play any role in arranging land for industrialists to set up projects. It had expressed its will of preparing a land bank but either way, the investors till now have found little reason to feel ecstatic in setting up industries in Bengal.
Banerjee met 42 industrialists in New Delhi on Monday but could she convince them?