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6 Jan 2017

Non-cooperation bell rings in Bengal

Pranesh Sarkar, TT, Calcutta, Jan. 5:   The state government has decided to start "total non-cooperation" with the Centre raising the spectre of a breakdown in dialogue at the government level between Delhi and Calcutta.
In the past one month or so, the Bengal government has either opposed or decided to oppose most initiatives by the Centre. If the buzz is to be believed, opposition to central projects and schemes would be intensified.
"The non-cooperation has started casting its shadow over development projects, which is not good for the state government," said a senior official.
Several bureaucrats said that dialogue between the state and the Centre "should be allowed" as that would clear hurdles facing development projects.
The following are some instances when the state government did not agree to proceed with the Centre's proposals.
No free land for Bagdogra: The civil aviation ministry has sought 118 acres from the state free of cost to expand the Bagdogra airport, but Bengal has decided not to proceed on it.
"The state government would write that it is not possible for it to give land free of cost as civil aviation is in the Union list or central list. The state legislature cannot clear the expenditure required to buy land for a subject in the Union list," said a senior official.
A senior bureaucrat said the land earmarked for the airport belongs to a tea garden and the state has to buy it.
Sources in Nabanna said the state government could take initiatives only if the ministry allots the required funds to take over the land.
Digitisation drive: Bengal has decided against helping the Centre on implementation of digital transactions.
According to sources, the state government will write to the Centre, mentioning that the drive is illogical, as 90 per cent of villages don't have banks. "The state would demand that until a bank is set up within a radius of 2km of each village, the move can't be supported," the official said.
Land rule block: The Centre has taken an initiative to allow industrialists to take land on lease as acquisition has become a costly as well as time-consuming affair following the acquisition act of 2014.
But the state has opposed the move because it feels it would dilute the land ceiling act and encourage land sharks grabbing plots of poor farmers.

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