A Bend in the River
  • Assam
  • Insurgency

  • Bhutan
  • Environment
  • Gender
  • Governance
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  • New Left hoopla: ADB zindabad!

    • Date: May 8, 2006; Monday  • Views: 7,312 views   • Comments:
    • Categories: Assam, Insurgency  

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    A major contribution by the Left in this country to the future of multinationals, donor agencies as well as international financial institutions has come from none other than Asim Dasgupta, the finance minister of West Bengal. If it puzzles many of their supporters, don?t blame them. And, of course, one wonders where it places the many dedicated warriors against international finance and globalisation who rallied in Hyderabad last week against the Asian Development Bank, which is coming into India in a big way.

    Mr Dasgupta dispelled any doubts about the Marxist enthusiasm for international funds in the following compelling words: ?The total investment in the spheres of irrigation, drainage, roads, bridges, industrial estates and technical education would be around Rs 5,830 crore of $1.3 billion over the next five years. We intend to propose this for ADB loan assistance on conditions which are mutually agreeable.? In addition, other infrastructure including an international airport needed investments of Rs 25,000 crore of $5.6 billion. Then came the punch line: using the Centre?s own rhetoric over the past years, Mr Dasgupta declared that by ?investing in West Bengal, you are not only investing in a state, but in a place which is the hub of the bigger quadrangle and a gateway to South-east and Far East Asia.?

    Given this new leftist posture, where will our Left friends and those fighting the system of imperial globalisation now stand, especially against the funding of dams and other sensitive environmental issues by groups like the World Bank and the ADB? Will they also raise their voices, protests and cudgels against the Establishment Left? Or will they be quiet on this?
    But for me, there is an interesting twist to this tale: West Bengal has virtually hijacked the ?Look East Policy? of the Government of India which was supposed to connect the North-east to South-east Asia. Kolkata wants now to be the key player because it can offer international airports, a far stabler economic and law and order environment than the North-east. It already has moved fast, bypassing Myanmar, the biggest hurdle for the North-east, by connecting directly to China and having the natural advantage of party-to-party relations with the Chinese Communist Party.

    ?Bangla-Chini Bhai Bhai? will force the North-east to shout ?Hai Hai?. But that?s after the horses have bolted. Wonder what the big-talking chief ministers of the North-east did in Hyderabad? It?s now Look East not through the North-east but through Kolkata. Wonder what South Block has to say to that.

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