Saturday, January 6, 2007

Villagers block Nandigram roads

Villagers block Nandigram roads

Staff Reporter

``No notification on land acquisition''

It was deliberate rumour, says Home Secretary
Party has definite proof, says Trinamool leader

Kolkata: Tension prevailed in Nandigram in West Bengal's Purbo Medinipur district on Thursday as villagers blocked all roads with boulders and tree trunks, following Wednesday's incident in which a crowd of villagers clashed with the police, ransacking a gram panchayat office and setting police vehicles ablaze to protest against possible acquisition of land in their area.

The State Government, meanwhile, clarified that notification for acquisition of land at Nandigram — the site of a proposed chemical and multi-product Special Economic Zone to be set up by the Indonesia-based Salim group — had not yet been issued. "There was a deliberate rumour that was spread at Nandigram," said Prasad Ranjan Roy, State Home Secretary.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee clarified on Wednesday that no notification had yet been issued for land acquisition in Nandigram.

Trinamool Congress MLA and Leader of the Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Partha Chatterjee, however, said his party had "definite proof" that notification orders had been issued. He said he had "copies" of the notification issued for acquiring 17,000 acres of land in the first phase of the project there.

Prakash Karat, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), said: "Nothing is being done [regarding any future project in the State] before discussions with Left Front partners."

Asked about the developments, A.B. Bardhan, general secretary, Communist Party of India, said, "a cooling period was very important."

"Let the Singur controversy be settled finally," he said, after which the "clarifications on land required and mouzas to be included can be made." He added that this should, however, be done only after talks with the people and the Left Front partners.

Mr. Roy said that it was still not clear whether there was any firing during the clash and that nothing could be said without receiving the police's investigation report. Around nine persons, including five policemen, were injured in the clashes and it was reported that the police fired 15 rounds in the air.

"The police are keeping a close watch on the situation," said Raj Kanojia, Inspector-General (Law and Order). Roads that had been damaged were in the process of being repaired. Six persons, suspected of belonging to a naxalite group, were arrested on charges of instigating the people.


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