Kolkata: The West Bengal cabinet on 25 September approved the setting up of a chemical hub at Nayachar island, close to the industrial township at Haldia.
The state government had already zeroed in on the 11,000-acre Nayachar island as the alternative site for the hub after facing stiff resistance and violence over land acquisition at Nandigram.
Continuing violence and unrest at Nandigram forced the state government to relocate the project site.
Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee apprised his cabinet of the preference for Nayachar as the proposed site of the chemical hub, chief secretary A. K. Deb said.
The CPI(M)-led ruling Left Front, on September 18, had given its approval for Nayachar island in East Midnapore district as the site for the proposed chemical hub.
Now the state government would seek the Centre’s permission for setting up the project, he said.
Trinamool Congress has already expressed its strong opposition to the project at Nayachar, which party supremo Mamata Banerjee described as ‘a killing hub´.
Trinamool Congress, the main opposition, boycotted the all party meeting convened by the chief minister on September four on the ground that the project would cause severe environmental pollution.
West Bengal Commerce and Industry Minister Nirupam Sen had earlier reiterated the government’s stand on Nayachar as the choice for the chemical hub.
On September 17, a meeting of the cabinet on industry convened by the chief minister discussed the chemical hub issue, including handing over of the land to the developer from the fisheries department. Several fisheries cooperatives have been functioning at the island under the department.
Officials said the state government was yet to submit the proposal for setting petroleum, chemical and petrochemical investment region (PCPIR) in the state.
In the midst of the views expressed from different corners about the viability of the project, the state government had asked the Geological Survey of India (GSI) to survey Nayachar after its identification for the proposed chemical hub.
The chief minister said GSI survey would determine whether the chemical hub could be set up in the island.
On the question of the setting up of such a mega project on a coastal island, the state government had contented that Singapore had built an industrial area on Jurong island. “Why can’t we?,” he said.