CPM in soup over land acquisition

After Nandigram and Singur, now it is Rajarhat, an upcoming township next to the swanky Salt Lake, which has all the promise of turning into a new political flashpoint over land acquisition.

The Housing and Industrial Development Corporation (HIDCO), an arm of the state government, had acquired large tracts of farmland in the Rajarhat-Newtown to set up a massive satellite township christened Jyoti Basu Nagar.

Banerjee, while addressing a mammoth party rally there on Saturday, alleged that to develop the area into an industrial town, the state government has forcibly taken away 25,000 acres of agricultural land from farmers, most of whom belong to religious minorities and backward classes. She threatened to initiate legal action if 10 per cent of the acquired land is not returned to the farmers.

Housing Minister Goutam Deb of the CPM had ridiculed Mamata’s claim by inserting full page advertisements in local dailies, detailing photos of farmers who had “willingly” come forward to sell their land to HIDCO. However, a large number of farmers whose pictures had found prominent display in the pages of newspapers, alleged here on Wednesday that Deb’s claim was “far from truth”, landing the CPM in a soup. The farmers were allegedly coerced into parting with their land and the compensation as mentioned in the advertisement was not given, the aggrieved land losers observed in a petition to the HIDCO managing director. They also demanded to put another advertisement at the earliest, deleting  their names and pictures from the list.

A defiant Dev refused to concede that there was any grievance over land acquisition. Also, he expressed his doubt over the veracity of any petition submitted to HIDCO managing director.

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