Subhrangshu GuptaTribune News Service
Kolkata, April 8The Lord Swaraj Paul, London-based industrialist, was today heckled and mobbed by groups of angry demonstrators during his visit to Singur. The Lord Paul had gone to Singur to perform the bhumi puja of the proposed Rs 2,000 crore plant of his Caparo Industries.
The undaunted Lord Paul, however, boldly faced the protests and performed the bhumi puja with usual religiosity.
The state Speaker, Hashim Abdul Halim, and a team of all-party MLAs were present at the puja. Trinamool Congress MLAs were, however, not in the team.
Later talking to media persons, the Lord Paul said he was determined to invest funds at Singur for setting up two units of the Caparo steel plant since he was sincerely wanting a rapid industrial growth in the still backward West Bengal for solving the state’s present acute unemployment problem. He said he would invest funds in other states, including his home-state of Punjab and Haryana.
The Lord Paul said the present industrial climate in West Bengal was favourable for new investments and he hoped that several other NRls settled in the UK and the US would now be keen to invest in Singur and other places where an infrastructural development was taking place following the setting of the Tata Motors factory. He felt Singur people themselves, irrespective of their political affiliations, should come forward and help grow new industries at Singur.
The Trinamool Congress and the local Bhoomi Rakhsa Committee (BRC), however, reiterated that they would not allow any more acquisitions of farm lands in Singur for industries. Incidentally, the Lord Paul today performed the bhumi puja on a small plot of the government-acquired khan land. But the process of acquiring about 2,000 acres for the entire project was being conducted by the state government after a consensus opinion at an all-party meeting excepting the Trinamool Congress.
In the morning today, around 10, the Lord Paul, accompanied by a group of NRI industrialists operating in the UK and other European countries and the state Industrial Development Corporation officials, drove down to Singur from Kolkata to be present at the bhumi puja ceremony of the proposed Caparo industries plant. A large contingent of CRPF personnel and the state police was escorting the business team.
On reaching the project site, they faced black flag protests organised by local people, comprising mostly women and children. They were protesting against the use of the farm lands at Singur for industries. The police, however, swung into action and forced the demonstrating people to leave the place. Afterwards, under police protection, the Lord Paul could perform the puja.