Thursday, November 15, 2012
Dalu wants Bengal to follow Modi model
statesman news service (soumya de sarkar)
MALDA, 13 NOV: Follow the development model of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, bury ideological differences and work for the development of West Bengal. This was the prescription Union minister of state for health A H Khan Choudhury (Dalu) offered today to chief minister Mamata Banerjee while inaugurating a torch race to celebrate Kali Puja here.
Mr Khan Choudhury's diagnosis of the problems plaguing Bengal and his remedy may raise the hackles in the Congress top leadership at a time when Mr Modi and the Congress are locked in a bitter contest in next month's Gujarat Assembly poll, but he was undeterred.
“In Gujarat the political parties join hands to ensure development of the state forgetting their ideological differences. We must overcome the political narrowness in West Bengal also and the Congress, the Trinamul Congress and even the Left Front must together strive to bring industries to the state,” he said.
Unlike the two other newly made Union ministers from the state ~ Ms Deepa Das Munshi and Mr Adhir Chowdhury ~ Mr Khan Choudhury adopted a conciliatory tone towards
the Trinamul supremo and even asserted that the Bengal chief minister's land acquisition policy had some justification.
In the same breath he told the media the three Union ministers would visit Haldia on 19 November to assess the situation there in the wake of the pullout decision of the cargo handler, Haldia Bulk Terminals, and submit a report to the Prime Minister.
“Miss Banerjee’s land acquisition policy is not completely incorrect. There is a dearth of agricultural land in the state and this has prompted her to declare that no farm land would be forcibly acquired from farmers. But given the importance of developmental projects, infertile land should be acquired,” he suggested, seeking the chief minister's help in this regard.
Even to set up an AIIMS-clone hospital in Raiganj ~ a bone of contention between Mrs Deepa Das Munshi and Miss Banerjee ~ the Centre, he said, wants to take the state government into confidence.
“It’s a priority project for us. We want to speak to the chief minister in this regard. The winter session of the Parliament will begin on 22 November and the land issue should be over before the session. I have a detailed discussion with Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on this. We would like to directly buy land from the willing farmers for setting up the hospital at Raiganj,” he said.
However, the Union minister criticised the state health department's tardy utilisation of Central funds for developing health infrastructure. He sought help from the chief minister, who is also the health minister, to develop the state's health infrastructure.