West Bengal forms expert committee on chemical hub


Kolkata : The West Bengal government Wednesday formed an environmental expert committee to monitor all activities in East Midnapore’s Nayachar Island for locating there a chemical hub after Nandigram was abandoned for the project in the face of stiff resistance from villagers.

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“We have formed an environmental expert committee, headed by former chairman and managing director of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Subir Raha, to look into all the environmental aspects of the project,” Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee told a press conference after a cabinet meeting here.

The committee will give its suggestions to the government on setting up the chemical hub project at Nayachar, a 40 sq km island in the Hooghly river about 150 km from Kolkata.

A high-level steering committee chaired by the chief minister would also be set up to monitor the project on regular basis. State cabinet ministers, including Industry Minister Nirupam Sen, will be its members.

It will facilitate execution of four sanctioned projects, including the chemical hub at Nayachar, with Indonesia-based Salim group.

With Nandigram in revolt, the proposed chemical hub was shifted to Nayachar, where the state government owns 11,000 hectares of land. The Haldia Development Authority (HDA) also owns some land.

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has also conducted a study at Nayachar before setting up the project there.

Wednesday’s cabinet meeting also decided that the district magistrate will suggest suitable land to the government for any project, keeping in mind the loss to and displacement of local people, Bhattacharya said.