â€کBuddha' promotes CBM and Myanmar for West Bengal

Vol 12, PW 24 (07 May 09) People & Policy

West Bengal’s Marxist chief minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee is making the state’s energy scarcity a prominent issue in national elections to elect a new union government in Delhi.

On the campaign trail Bhattacharjee and â€کcomrades’ from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) are painting a bright industrial future for West Bengal when Coal Bed Methane output increases from Great Eastern Energy’s producing Raniganj fields and when Reliance lands gas in 2011 from the offshore Mahanadi Basin block NEC-25. “We will have enough natural gas in Bengal by 2011 so why should industries not come hereâ€‌ asks Marxist-inspired wall graffiti across Kolkata, defiantly.

This particular graffiti ends with the punch line: “Defeat the Trinamuls and serve the cause of Bengal’s industrialisation!â€‌ In West Bengal, the main opposition to the CPI (M) comes from the Trinamul Congress, led by maverick firebrand and general hell-raiser Mamata Bannerjee, infamous for driving out the Tata-inspired Nano car plant from West Bengal into the arms of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. In stark contrast Bhattacharjee is a self-avowed fan of private sector industrialisation.

“You must constantly seek fresh energy sources to industrialise,â€‌ he told a rally in Kolkata on May 3. “We are doing that.

After elections, we will pressurise whichever government is elected in Delhi to negotiate afresh with Burma. We want their gas from the Arakans.

â€‌ All Arakans gas has so far been committed to China, complained Bhattacharjee. “More gas will be found in the Arakans,â€‌ he said.

“Delhi must pressurise the Burmese so that we get it here.â€‌ When asked by journalists how Myanmar gas could come to India, Bhattacharjee had a ready answer.

“Today we have a friendly government in (neighbouring) Dhaka. I don’t think laying a pipeline through Bangladesh would be a problem.

â€‌ General election results will be out on May 16 and a new government in place by June 2.