Chem hub at Nayachar island in Haldia likely

Written by Economy Bureau | Kolkata, Sep 3 | Updated: Sep 4 2007, 06:42am hrs
The all-party meeting held on Monday and attended by the ruling Left Front constituents and the Congress but boycotted by opposition parties like the Trinomool Congress and the BJP reached a concensus on creating a petrochemical region in the state, according to Nirupam Sen, the state industry minister.

Emerging from the meeting held at the Writers' Buildings, Sen also said that out of the three sites proposed by consultant Mott MacDonald, the Left participants have expressed their preference for Nayachar, an island formed during the last few decades on the Hooghly river, while the Congress is yet to disclose its preference.

"The Congress has decided to convey its decision shortly. I think the meeting has been positive and all the participating parties have agreed to the creation of a chemical hub," said Sen.

"Once the Congress clears Nayachar, we will ask the developer (West Bengal Industrial Development Corp and New Kolkata International Development Pvt Ltd) to do the feasibility study with the state forming an advisory committee," Sen added.

If Nayachar is selected there wouldn't be any issue of land acquisition as the whole of the 38 sqkm island is owned by the state government.

The land and land reforms department handed over the island to the fisheries department in the mid-eighties. Later, the Haldia Development Authority (HAD) brought the island under its fold leaving around 1500 acres with the fisheries department.

At present, the fishery department is engaged in brackish water pisiculture in the area.

"We have to carry out an environment impact study before we can decide." If the hub comes up, a 2.5 kilometre bridge is required to connect Nayachar with Haldia.

Earlier chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattracharjee had proposed a golf course on Nayachar envisaging an eco tourism covering Haldia and Nayachar.