‘Common economic zone in East will help develop the region’

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on August 03, 2014 Published on August 02, 2014

Attempts should be made to promote West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha as a common economic zone, Sushil Modi, former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, said here on Saturday.

Speaking at the 86th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Modi said the development of the Eastern region was possible only when these States work together.

“Creation of a common economic zone between West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand should help in development of the region," he said.

According to the senior BJP leader, Bangladesh has better social indices than that of the Eastern states.

Greater co-operation

Modi also sought greater co-operation between Bengal and Bihar, not just on the economic front, but also in ensuring faster completion of Central projects.

Citing the example of the Jagdishpur (Bihar) – Haldia (West Bengal) gas pipeline project, he said, that completion would ensure better economic prospects in both States.

Similarly, faster implementation and completion of the Allahabad-Haldia waterway would lead to better trade between the neighbouring States of Bengal and Bihar.

Help was also sought in promoting the Buddhist tourism circuits located in Bihar by using Bengal as a gateway.

Promoting i ndustry and agriculture

Industry and agriculture, he said, should be the two sectors that should help propel growth in Bengal and Bihar. However, in Bengal, “pro-industry is considered as anti-poor” and such should not be the mindset.

Similarly, both the States suffered from the absence of industries because of high land costs and rigidities in labour laws.

With agriculture growth stagnating in the North Indian States there was tremendous opportunity for the Eastern ones, especially Bengal and Bihar.

“You need revenues in your coffers and that you can get from industries and by promoting manufacturing. Infrastructure, manufacturing and agriculture should be the mainstay for these States,” he said.

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Published on August 02, 2014
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