M A I N   N E W S

Reforms with human face: Yes, Mr PM, says Bengal CM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
In a move to dispel the notion that the Communists in the country are against foreign capital investments, the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, today said Kolkata had received “maximum” foreign investments in the field of IT and communications.

Talking to mediapersons after meeting the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, in the Capital, he said: “The Communists are not fools. They are not against reforms. What we want is what the Prime Minister has said about reforms with a human face.”

Asked about reports that he had said the United Progressive Alliance government would “stand up and sit down” at the Left’s directions, Mr Bhattacharjee said the report was “distorted”.

“We are supporting this government from outside on the basis of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP), which has been discussed at various levels and changed at least four times. Basically, its approach is good and we will never allow the BJP to come back to power,” he said,

Describing his meeting as a courtesy call, he said he had discussed the CMP in general terms and the “success stories” of his state in various fields like land reforms, agriculture, IT and communications.

On the economic reforms in West Bengal, he said the state had invited and received a high dose of foreign direct investment (FDI).

Claiming that the state had received maximum FDI from Japan, he said leading companies like Mitsubishi and Marubeni were coming to the state in a big way. Similarly, IT giant IBM, which already had software facilities in the state, was going ahead with a major expansion spree.

He said: “I can’t say our state has a model policy which the Centre should follow. National policies are far more important and have a wider perspective. But we placed our suggestions on agriculture and land reforms, besides the progress we made in IT and communications.”

“I have not come with a charter of demands for West Bengal...I am not a Chief Minister who will ask for packages. If we have any specific problem, we will raise it with Union Ministers concerned and not burden the Prime Minister,” Mr Bhattacharjee added.

He said the state government had already started discussions with Central leaders, including Mr Pranab Mukherjee and Mr Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, on the Ganga-Padma erosion and problems of jute mills.

Asked about Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader and Coal and Mines Minister Sibu Soren’s statement that he would try to shift Coal India headquarters from Kolkata to Ranchi, Mr Bhattacharjee said he did not want to “antagonise any alliance partner.”

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