Why did HBT not approach WB govt directly: minister

A day after cargo handling firm Haldia Bulk Terminals (HBT) announced that it was quitting Haldia because of unsafe work conditions, a senior West Bengal minister today questioned why it did not approach the government directly instead of putting out "baseless" statements.

"It is not known to us why HBT has not taken up (the issue) with us and have decided to make a public statement unilaterally. I strongly deny the statement of HBT CEO regarding the law and order situation in the state," Industry and Commerce Partha Chatterjee told PTI.

When told that the HBT authorities had sought the help of the district administration, he said, "What forces them to remain at the district administration level when they have reservation against them?"

Referring to the government's efforts to restore peace in Darjeeling in a span of 12 months, he said, "The industrial climate in the state has not worsened in any way after the Mamata Banerjee government took office, as is being alleged."

Stating that the issue was being blown out of proportion, he referred to the HBT giving employment to 275 workers during the erstwhile Left Front regime and said a section of the media was silent on their retrenchment.

"I am against the section of the press which have not appreciated the present moves by the Chief Minister for industrial growth and job creation in the state," he said.

A section of the press has allegedly taken up these issues to "confuse" the public.

His comments came a couple of days after the Chief Minister said all was well at Haldia and accused the opposition CPI(M) and a section of the media of running a misleading campaign.

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