Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tarnishing Bengal's image

Our perpetually pouting pusillanimous Chief Minister has said that the opposition to the forcible land acquisition in Singur by the West Bengal govt (on behalf of Tata Motors, for their small car plant) has tarnished Bengal’s image.

He had earlier spoken about sending wrong signals to investors.

“People could be thinking, ‘is this Bengal? What if I go there?’ The protests against land acquisition could make potential investors wary of projects in Bengal, he said.

Here is a classic illustration of the word “disingenuous”. Also a classic illustration of the expression “pot calling the kettle black”. Its also a case of image / delusion ousting reality!

As the Chief Minister is also the Home Minister for the state, and thus responsible for the rule of law, surely he is aware that, right here, in Calcutta:

No one can build a house without gratifying local extortionists, who are principally affiliated to his party (as his party colleague Biman Bose himself asserted)?

Large swathes of the city's pavements have been appropriated by hoodlums, principally associated with his party, who let out the space to vendors for a daily collection? In east Calcutta, a minister in the state cabinet is personally responsible for installing a number of illegal diesel generators to supply electricity to these street vendors.

Illegal building construction is undertaken flagrantly in the slum neighbourhoods of the city, and enabled principally by his party?

Large-scale electricity theft goes on in various parts of the city, again principally with the active involvement of people affiliated with his party. In some neighbourhoods, this is the only means by which the people can obtain electricity (obviously at a much higher rate); the illegal electricity supply operation is also an important source of livelihood for a good number of people.

The whole system of obtaining driving licenses is entirely based on paying bribes. Among other things, this is also responsible for the maniacal driving witnessed at large on the city's streets, resulting in daily deaths.

Tens of thousands of auto-rickshaws are entirely illegal, and owned principally by people affiliated to his party.

Public land in various places is illegally occupied by organisations affiliated to his party, and when authorities such as the KMDA try to take possession of the land they are ultimately asked to stand down and leave them be.

One could go on and on.

What impression does all this create dear Chief Minister? What signals does it give? If as Home Minister you have patently failed to even acknowledge the blatant, habitual violation of law and criminal extortion with which your party is associated, what impact does this have on those living, working and doing business here – let alone potential investors?

And if this is what you are, then what would one think about the nature of the nexus between you and the potential investors you are so concerned about disturbing?

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