Haldia (West Bengal): Expressing unhappiness over the central government delaying environmental clearance for West Bengal's eco-tourism project at Nayachar in East Midnapore district, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday sought immediate clearance for the project.

Banerjee alleged that the central government was blocking Haldia's industrial expansion by imposing a ban on industries here citing environmental issues.

The central government has recently accepted the Trinamool Congress government's decision not to develop the Rs.93,000 crore petro-chemical project at Haldia, proposed by the erstwhile Left Front government.

Banerjee opposed the proposed chemical hub for environmental reasons when former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee mooted the proposal. After coming to power in May 2011, she revived Nayachar's industrial plan, and proposed an eco-tourism project instead of the petro-chemical project.

The eco-project hit a roadblock with the Ministry of Environment and Forests seeking certain clarifications from the state government as a thermal power plant was also proposed along with the eco-tourism project.

Following the development, the chief minister Tuesday asked the central government to immediately clear the decks for the eco-tourism project as the industrial development of the region was being delayed.

"Once there was a proposal that there would be a petrochemical hub. Then the objection was there. Now we will be doing eco-tourism. I do not know why they have blocked it. If they do not clear the area for the tourism project, let us go for another area and not wait for anybody," Banerjee told a gathering here after inaugurating the second Pet Resin Plant of Dhunseri Petrochem and Tea Limited.

"I do not want to wait for anybody. If you want to do a job, you do it immediately. We cannot wait. If the time is lost, everything is lost. Time is a factor for industrial development," she added.

The chief minister also announced the government's plan to set up an IT hub and a cultural centre in Haldia.


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