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J.B. Patnaik opposes SEZ plans

Staff Reporter

BERHAMPUR: The Tata group should think of utilising the land it has acquired near Gopalpur for its proposed vehicle manufacturing unit at Singur in West Bengal, according to Congress leader and former chief minister J.B. Patnaik.

Speaking to newsmen during his visit to Berhampur University on Saturday, Mr. Patnaik reiterated that the land which the company had acquired in Orissa should be used for industrial purpose rather than being converted it into a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). "If I would have been the chief minister I would have pressed upon Tisco to establish its steel plant near Gopalpur rather than opting for another site like Kalinganagar, where the company is facing stiff opposition," he said.

Dig at State

According to him, the State government should not allow companies to establish SEZs in Orissa. Mr. Patnaik seemed to be opposed to plans of SEZs by industrial houses in Orissa. There was no need to grant SEZ facility to the industrial houses who were flocking to Orissa attracted by its mineral deposits, he said.

He was sceptical about the fate of MoUs signed by the State government for establishment of iron and steel industries in the State. He felt only a few of them would come up.

He criticised the State government for neglecting agricultural sector in Orissa in the name of rapid industrialisation.

Call to students

The welfare club of Berhampur University celebrated its annual function on Saturday. Mr. Patnaik advised students to rise to the needs of the State while addressing the gathering. Union Minister of State for Rural Development Chandrasekhar Sahu attended the function as guest of honour.

He made the students remember how the establishment of this university was associated with a mass movement of students.

He advised students to keep up the spirit and always try to do something for society.

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