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Nayachar To Get Eco-Friendly Hub
October 28, 2011
Nayachar To Get Eco-Friendly Hub


28 October 2011

Biswabrata Goswami, HALDIA:

The state government has agreed to allot 350 acres to Mr Prasoon Mukherjee-promoted Universal Success Enterprises (USE) for setting up an industrial park and eco-tourism infrastructure at Nayachar, an island on the Hooghly river off Haldia in East Midnapore.
Of the 350 acres, the state government has agreed to give 250 acres at the industrial town of Haldia and the other 100 acres will be provided at a place near Panagarh in Burdwan, said an official of Haldia Development Authority (HDA) under which jurisdiction the major portion of land will fall.
In August this year, the state government had announced the scrapping of a proposed PCPIR project at Nayachar island. The project was scrapped on environmental grounds and at the same time, the state government had assured that an eco-tourism project would come up in its place.
“The government will not allow a chemical hub in the state because of threat of air and land pollution and also since it threatens the livelihood of fishermen,” Mr Partha Chatterjee, the state industry minister, had said. He also announced that the island would be developed for eco-tourism and the interests of fishermen inhabiting the island would be protected.

Mr Mukherjee, who had come to an agreement with the erstwhile Left Front government to construct a chemical hub at Nayachar, had sought compensation to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore after the Left Front government transferred 54 sq km in Nayachar to a joint venture between Mr Mukherjee’s firm and the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) to conduct feasibility studies.

But later, Indonesia’s Salim Group, which was to be one of the key investors in the project, pulled out and USE became the sole private investor in the Nayachar project.
After the Trinamul Congress came to power earlier this year, the chemical hub project was scrapped and replaced by the eco-tourism one. Mr Mukherjee agreed with the Trinamul Congress’ views on Nayachar project and submitted a new project proposal, which envisages setting up an industrial park and infrastructure for eco-tourism, besides a power plant.

“A revised agreement for the projects at Nayachar island is to be signed, and the draft, which is ready to furnish, envisages 250-350 acres being given to USE as viability gap compensation,” a HDA official said.
People involved in the fishing business, however, said: “Nayachar is around 5.6 metres above the average mean sea level and gets regularly hit by tidal waves as high as 4-5 metres. The ground is risky for any sort of industrial project and unless the proposed project has definitive water disposal plan to deliver the residue wastes downstream which will not harm the marine lives, it will be difficult to maintain the environmental and ecological balance of the island.”