Saturday, January 6, 2007

Nandigram villagers form body to resist land acquisition

Nandigram villagers form body to resist land acquisition

The Bhumi Ucched Partirodh Committee (Committee to Resist Eviction from Land) was formed to prevent any move to acquire land for the proposed project by the Salim group of Indonesia and the state government even as activists of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) flexed their muscles and drew a battle line with the angry farmers and residents.

"We will not give any land for industrialisation here at any cost or price. We will teach the government a lesson if they use force," said a representative of the new body.

CPI-M leader Binoy Konar in Kolkata said: "We will not sit silent in Nandigram. We will hit back if they adopt violent means." The battle lines were thus drawn in Nandigram.

Though no violence was reported Saturday, the situation remained tense after an overnight incident of bomb throwing in the area.

Nandigram, about 150 km from Kolkata, is a minority dominated area in East Midnapore district and considered a Left Front citadel.

On Wednesday, police had to fire several rounds to quell frenzied villagers at Nandigram who set a police jeep on fire, heavily injured cops, blocked roads with boulders and demolished a bridge to prevent police access to their areas after the word of a land acquisition notification spread.

The situation has remained explosive since then, prompting Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and the CPI-M to go on the back foot even as the Left Front constituent Communist Party of India (CPI) criticised the former for its land acquisition policies.

The Nandigram assembly seat is held by the CPI while the Haldia Lok Sabha seat belongs to the CPI-M.

In East Midnapore, the government reportedly has eyed over 22,000 acres of land for industrial projects.

On July 31, the state government signed an agreement with the Salim Group to implement various developmental projects, including a mega chemical industrial estate, to be spread over 10,000 acres in a 50:50 joint venture.

Construction of a four-lane road bridge over the Haldi river, from Haldia to Nandigram, has also been planned. The bridge would provide a link between Haldia and the proposed chemicals SEZ in Nandigram.


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