Friday, January 5, 2007

Another Singur brews at Nandigram
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, January 4
Indonesia's Salem group was promised by the Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, to get some 40,000 acres in the Midnapore district for developing new infrastructure, setting up a new township, housing complexes, bridges and other multi-facility projects.

Accordingly, on Wednesday the district authorities were trying to initially acquire some 500 acres in Nandigram village but the attempts had been strongly resisted by the local farmers and other land-owners. Trinamool Congress, Congress(l), SUCI and other anti-Left parties were in the resistance movement.

As a result, there were clashes between people and the police in which the police fired over 20 rounds of bullets and the irate mobs attacked the policemen with bricks, bombs, lathis and other weapons. Over 30 persons, including some policemen, were injured in the clashes.

As protest against the forcible acquisition of land in Nandigram village, the Congress(l) and the SUCI today observed a 12-hour bandh in East Midnapore district, which disrupted normal life in the village.

Incidentally, the three-day CPM Politburo and the Central Committee meeting which ended here today, endorsed the state government's land acquisition policy for industries. But the party strongly criticised the UPA's policy for land acquisition for SEZs.

The CPM general secretary, Mr Prakash Karat, alleged that the UPA Government was grabbing farmlands in different places for setting up SEZs, violating the UPA's common minimum programme.

After the end of the party's three-day meeting of the Politburo and the Central Committee, Mr Karat declared that the Left parties would launch a demonstration and agitation all over the country in the first week of February against the UPA's anti-people policies. He, however, said the Nandigram land issue would be discussed at the left front meeting and the partner parties had been assured accordingly.

The Forward Bloc, a major partner of the left front which was holding the party’s central committee meeting in the city, criticised both the Centre and the Bengal government for forcible acquisition of farmlands for industries and other development activities. The FB leaders Mr Ashok Ghosh and Mr Debabrata Biswas alleged that the Nandigram land acquisition for Salim industries had not been discussed at the front meeting. But the government, at the instance of the Chief Minister, had already launched a land-grabbing drive at Nanigram and other areas in order to provide land to Salim industries.

Another front partner, the RSP, also made similar charges against the CPM leadership and the government. The RSP secretary, Mr Debabrta Bandopadhyya, warned the Chief Minister against grabbing land for industries.


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