Sunday, March 9, 2014

State of Industries in Bengal: Fossils

vlcsnap-2014-03-09-14h27m45s111The shocking rate of unemployment and migration of its educated youth to other states or countries reveals the tip of the iceberg of nothingness that an erstwhile vibrant Bengal has become today.  Through the most part of its 34 years of rule, the Left Front under the leadership of Communist Party of India closed or reduced to a tottering flicker 100s of factories like Dunlop, Bata- just to name a couple. A drive down Hide Road, Brace Bridge will make you feel as if you are walking down the ruins of a flourishing city. Every 7 out of 10 engineering graduates have to leave Bengal after graduating in search of jobs, while the others who stay back are ending up as clerks in nationalized banks or in railways. It’s an intriguing fact that 50% of the small scale industries shut down across India hail from Bengal. Rampant trade unionism, strikes and hartals marred the working spirit of the people. After Jyoti Basu stepped down, new Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya realised this and started making amends with better connectivity and development works, drawing praise and fresh investments from industrialists and at the same time giving his political opponents the much-needed harpstick to uproot the Left regimen. Ultimately it was Singur and Nandigram movements invoking the Bengali legacy of communism of Jyoti Basu’s days that gave Mamata Banerjee the much-needed spade to uproot the Communists.

The ‘parivartan(change)’ happened. But, as far as employment and industrialization is concerned, the situation is still deteriorating from 2011 when Didi stormed to power. No more flyovers. No more highways. No more investments. Job prospects of its educated youth still shrinking. Kolkata is rappidly evolving into a fossil remain of the hustling and bustling of its heydays 40-50 years back. Lack of development works and a directionless industrial land policy or lack of it are to blame. The government’s inherited debt burden ever increasing, the state GDP ever falling.

In 2011, in 2010-11, when GSDP grew at 9.22% but in 2012-13 was at 7.60%.

Since May 2011, the state claimed investment proposals of Rs 1.12 lakh crores but, in reality, projects worth Rs 312 crore were implemented, which was a fall of nearly 85% over the previous year, and 97% over 2010-the last year of Left Front rule in the state.

(Source: Planning Comission via

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