FDI will eliminate farmers, traders: Buddhadeb


Kolkata: In a point-by-point rebuttal of the Congress-led UPA government’s reasons for inviting overseas investment in retail, former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said Saturday it would eliminate farmers and small traders.

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“The (central) government says the farmer will be benefited by FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) but then, multinational companies (MNCs) will not develop any production infrastructure. They are solely concerned with post-production; so how will FDI help farmers?” Bhattacharjee said at a programme here.

“They say it will eliminate middlemen. Yes the middlemen will be eliminated. But they would only be replaced by those appointed by the MNCs. So this argument also doesn’t stand,” said the Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member.

Faced with stiff opposition to the reform, the UPA has been advocating FDI, saying the beneficiaries will be farmers, small traders and the consumers.

However, Bhattacharjee rubbished all those arguments and claimed the measure would benefit neither; rather it would drive out 90 percent of farmers and traders.

“The MNCs would invest here for their own needs. Nearly 90 percent of small and marginal farmers and traders would be eliminated. The small markets where these people trade will vanish and only a few would flourish, the investors would flourish,” he said.

“Small and big traders cannot coexist; the big fish will always eat the small fish,” he said.

Bhattacharjee also rebutted the centre’s argument that it will benefit the consumers, saying investors would regulate the prices of products to increase their profits rather than think of the interests of the common man.

“Only because we Leftists understand the plight of the farmers and the common man do we oppose FDI,” Bhattacharjee said.