Haldia (West Bengal), Oct 9: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday said she would not allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail in the state.
“They (union government) allowed FDI in retail, capped subsidised cooking gas and now they will invest pension money in the share market. By doing this, they want to ruin the country. They want to sell the country to foreigners,” Banerjee said at a public meeting in Tamluk in East Midnapore district.
“They want to snatch your land and livelihood and set up Walmart here. But let me say this: ‘As long as I’m here, we will not allow Walmart to enter’. We cannot and will not allow anything that jeopardises the interest of common people,” Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress chief, said.
She was in district to inaugurate a slew of projects in Haldia.
Banerjee came down heavily on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for the steep hikes in diesel and fertiliser prices and said the government would have to roll back the hikes.
Following the UPA government’s decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, her party had withdrawn support from the ruling coalition last month.
Earlier in the day, Banerjee inaugurated a PET resin plant of Dhunseri Petrochem & Tea Limited, an edible oil plant of JVL Agro and a logistic park of Apeejay Surrendra Group in Haldia.
Dhunseri plans to increase its PET resin production capacity to 4,10,000 tonnes per annum with the second plant, investing Rs.400 crore.
JVL Agro has set up the 1,200 tonnes per day capacity plant, pumping in Rs.165 crore, while investment for the first phase of logistic park of Apeejay Surrendra would be around Rs.100 crore.
Banerjee expressed unhappiness over the union government delaying environmental clearance for eco-tourism project in Nayachar in the district.
She sought immediate clearance for the project.
She said the government was also blocking Haldia’s industrial expansion by imposing a ban on industries citing environmental issues.
“Once there was a proposal that there would be a petrochemical hub. Then the objection was there. Now we will be doing eco-tourism. I do not know why they have blocked it. If they do not clear the area for the tourism project, let us go for another area and not wait for anybody,” she told a gathering here.
“I do not want to wait for anybody. If you want to do a job, you do it immediately. We cannot wait,” she said.
Banerjee had opposed the chemical hub for environmental reasons during the previous left Front government.
After coming to power in May 2011, she revived Nayachar’s industrial plan, and proposed an eco-tourism project instead of the petrochemical project.
But the eco-project too hit a roadblock with the Ministry of Environment and Forests seeking certain clarifications from the state government since a thermal power plant was also proposed along with the project.