Tuesday, January 16, 2007

ASSOCHAM against land grabbing, says new chief

New Delhi, Jan 16: Newly-elected president of industry body Assocham and Videocon Chief Venugopal Dhoot on Tuesday said he was against "land grabbing" in the name of SEZs and the chamber would take farmers on board while pursuing industrialisation.

"Assocham is against land grabbing. We are for farmers and when we undertake industrialisation we would like to convince them that it is for their benefit," Dhoot told a news agency in his first interview before assuming office.

With controversies surrounding land acquisition for SEZs and other industrial projects in many parts of the country, Dhoot reiterated there was "no sense in making SEZs by compromising the interest of farmers".

His comments come in the backdrop of protests against Indonesia's Salim Group's Special Economic Zone at Nandigram in West Bengal, Tata Motors' car project at Singur and against SEZs in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra among others.

On the issue of rehabilitation policy proposed by the Prime Minister, he said the chamber would support it.

Asked if Assocham was ready to speak to politicians who were agitating against acquisition of farm land for industrial purpose, Dhoot said: "As a chamber we do not believe in talking to individuals. If any issue has to be taken up then we will speak to governments, including chief ministers."

Dhoot, whose group has been active in global takeovers, said government should provide support and incentives to parent Indian companies that are investing overseas.

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