I would like to state the basic premise of the developmental debate which is at the heart of the issue. In West Bengal, nearly 70 per cent of the landmass is agricultural and fertile, most of it multi-crop. Farming provides livelihood for a majority of the population. So, if any new industry is to come up, land acquisition is essential. There is a Land Acquisition Act which allows the government to acquire private land for public use provided the best rehabilitation and compensation package is made available to the affected farmer. How do you rehabilitate a third or probably fourth generation farmer? Monetary compensation is not enough when you take away the roots, shelter and the source of livelihood of the people along with their land.
During a food crisis, agro-based industries are the most suitable and sustainable option for such states. We need to strike a balance between agro-based industry where we take a big chunk of the farming community along with us and modern industry (which will anyway arrive, thanks to the economic trend driven by globalisation).
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