Saturday, April 07, 2007

Nandigram- take on another take

Anirban has posted a reply to my blog on Nandigram. And when it is Anirban, it has to be something more than ordinary. As expected he has put a new angle to the entire issue, without going into haven is going to fall mode. Also Anirban has considered a larger picture, not only confining to Nandigram. He has considered all SEZs in a whole.

If I pick up the concerns and put them to perspective they are like this
1) With food scarecity looming large as threat, converting agricultural land would mean aggravating the problem
2) SEZs should happen only at non agricultural land, if infrastructure needs to be developed there, wait till that happens.

I have different view on both these issues.
I would start with the second point. Anirban is partially correct when he says necessity of converting non-agricultural land to industrial lands. However, it is like chicken and egg story. If we wait till infrastructure be developed before we leap into industrialization, it would be too late and may not even take place. Also if I consider a state like west Bengal, where most of the land it fertile agricultural land, this solution is simply not practical. If an atmosphere of Industrialization is not created, infrastructural development would not take place. So if need be, fertile land has to be used for creating a positive environment. Once industry starts settling in, parallely, development plans for non agricultural areas to be taken up. Otherwise business houses would move into other places and the chance of reviving state’s economy would remain unmoved.

On the other point of food scarcity, I find the concern misplaced. With industrialization settling in, people would have more and more money to invest into newer technologies of cultivation, which would increase productivity manifold. I read in an article about agricultural advancement in South Asia that in countries like Vietnam & Indonesia, they can produce more than double food grain than us from the same area of farmland. It is like upgrading manufacturing facility to produce more from the same factory. If we really consider agriculture is an industry, we have to start thinking it like one.

Lots of negativity, concerns and fear of unknown would try to bog our mind. But we need to break free from all these deterrents, sacrifice short term comfort for that long term gain, which we are aspiring for since last so many years!!!