Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday assured the Centre of all help to ensure smooth running of central schemes and projects, including those in the power and coal sector in Bengal.
“Aap log age bado, agar hamare man me koi baat ayega, to ham saaf saaf bata denge. Hum kabhi dil pe ek aur muh pe ek, aisa kabhi nahin bolte. Aap log aao, kaam koro, hamare taraf se koi rukawat nahin ayega. Ye hamara neeti hain. (You go ahead… If I have something in my mind, I will say it directly. I am not a person who thinks one thing and says something else. You come here, do your work. You will neither experience any resistance from the state government nor any hindrance. This is my policy),” Mamata said in Kolkata at the inauguration of Coal India Ltd’s new corporate office at Rajarhat.
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She said this in the presence of Union Minister of State for Coal, Power and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal. Once known for her acrimony towards the Modi government and central projects, the change in Mamata’s stance primarily follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent two-day visit to the state.
“I assure you that whatever help you need for expansion of your existing or new projects, including in sectors like coal, renewable and power, we will always extend our cooperation to you… Coal and power are the backbone of the country. All big industries come from these. If you prosper, the country will prosper,” she said.
Urging the Centre to frame a national policy on iron-ore, Mamata said: “I have urged the Prime Minister to come up with a comprehensive iron ore policy. I request you to take up the matter. Iron ore bearing states will also benefit, if such a policy is in place.”
Pointing out that the state government has been supporting central projects, Mamata said: “For this IISCO project, we have given 3,325 acres of land free of cost. For the thermal power project at Katwa, we have given 156 acres to NTPC and allotted 100 acres for Eastern Coalfield.”
“The minister (Piyush Goyal) has requested for land to start a thermal power project at Raghunathpur in Purulia. I have assured him that we will give our vested land for the project to DVC. There will be no problem in implementing any central project here,” she added.
NTPC plans to set up a 1,320-MW thermal power plant at Katwa after state-owned WBPDCL gave up the project, as it was unable to acquire the requisite land.
According to the NTPC, landowners have agreed to offer land. In Raghunathpur, DVC was facing land acquisition hurdles for laying water pipeline and for second phase of the project.
Mamata elaborated that at present, four major central projects in coal, power and energy sectors are in progress in Bengal. These are Panchami (Birbhum) coal blocks (five blocks given to Bengal), NTPC project in Katwa (Burdwan), DVC project in Raghunathpur (Purulia) and four hydel projects of NTPC and NHPC in North Bengal.
Appreciating Bengal government’s “progressive” nature, Goyal said: “The spirit of Team India is reflected in Bengal’s thinking. The sense of togetherness will take the country forward. Bengal is on the path of prosperity, which will bring more and more industries here. We are committed to bring change in the life of the people of Bengal and make it better.”
Calling Mamata his elder sister, he added: “We have always got her support in every possible manner. She has supported us in building a corruption-free coal sector and also expanding it. “
Union MoS for Urban Development Babul Supriyo, who was also present at the event, also showered praises on Mamata.
“In school, we have read about the big bang theory. The formula was E=mc2 . E means energy and C coal. But M is surely for Mamata. So, she is always there between energy and coal,” he said.