New Delhi, Jan 6: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday questioned the land policy of West Bengal government, saying the stand of not allowing acquisition of land but asking the industrialists to set up industry is not a practical one.
Speaking to Bengali daily Anandabazaar Patrika in an interview, Jaitley also asked the effectiveness of the land bank that the Mamata Banerjee government has spoken about time and again as a source for industrialists to take land for investment.
Jaitley said it is in the states' own interest to support the Centre's land ordinance for those who ignore the ordinance will do it at the cost of their own development.
When asked about the Trinamool Congress's protest against the land and insurance bills in the parliament, the Union minister said he would request the Bengal chief minister to back the land, insurance and coal bills for the sake of development of her own state, the interview report said.
"What's the point if you can not give land to the industrialists? How much land does the state government have and how much land is required to improve Bengal's industrial scenario?
The state will benefit from revenues received from coal and insurance fields if the bills are passed or else it will fall behind in the competition for development. History will judge them one day," the Anandabazaar Patrika quoted him as saying in the interview.
When asked whether the Centre was doing nothing to bail Bengal out from its economic woes, Jaitley said the state's economic deterioration hasn't happened over the past few months. He said Bengal was badly affected during the British rule and the situation didn't improve during the long rule of the Congress.
A lot of anti-Centre slogans were heard during the Left rule but no real change was seen. When a political change happened, the people expected a change in the state's economic fortunes as well but nothing happened.
Jaitley was asked whether the growing animosity between the Centre and the state on issues like CBI probe into the Saradha scam would make it difficult for cooperation between the two sides for economic development. To this, Jaitley said the CBI was probing at the order of the Supreme Court and it would not be right for him to make any remark on this.
He also said that the central investigative agency is also conducting probe in various states and it has nothing to do with the state's development.
He said if Prime Minister Narendra Modi was indeed seeking a revenge, then why would I go to Kolkata to attend Biswa Bonga Sammelan? A lot of central minister have already visited Bengal and I myself have also spoken to a number of state ministers from Bengal.
Is the BJP more aggressive in capitalising on the Saradha chit fund scam and the growing radicalisation in Bengal? To this, Jaitley said the BJP is trying to build up on the failure of other opposition parties like the Conrgess and CPI(M) but it has nothing to do with administrative issues.
Jaitley is set to visit Kolkata on Tuesday and will also attend a dinner party hosted by Mamata Banerjee.