WB offers to return 11% land to farmers at Rajarhat

West Bengal government Tuesday challenged the Trinamool Congress, saying it was ready to return 11 per cent of the acquired land at Rajarhat township.

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2010, 21:20 PM IST

Kolkata: West Bengal government Tuesday challenged the Trinamool Congress, saying it was ready to
return 11 per cent of the acquired land at Rajarhat township,
if the Mamta Banerjee-led party "allowed Tata to set up their
second small car unit at Singur".

"She is demanding that 10 per cent of the developed
land in Rajarhat township be returned to the farmers. We will
return not 10, but 11 per cent land there, provided she agreed
to the proposal in Singur," state Housing Minister Gautam Deb
said at a press conference.

"Let her announce if she was ready to take up the
challenge," Deb said, adding, as a minister he was offering
this proposal with a certain `responsibility`.

"If she agreed to this proposal in Singur, Chief
Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee would talk to Tata. Let the
Tatas come back and open a unit of their small car Nano in
Singur. Let there be a settlement in Singur."

Tata Motors had left Singur in 2008 in the face of
stiff opposition by Trinamool Congress which demanded return
of 400 acres of the nearly 1000-acre acquired land to the
farmers and the Nano factory should come up on the remaining
600 acres.

Deb said if she agreed to the Singur proposal, he will
ensure that 11 per cent land in Rajarhat was returned to the
farmers despite all difficulties.

"Let her confirm tomorrow that she will allow Tata to
set up their second small car unit at Singur," he said.

Defending acquisition of land at Rajarhat New Town
project, Deb in his counter-attack said Mamata Banerjee should
also return 10 per cent of land acquired by the Railways to
the land-holders.

The Railways, he pointed out, had acquired 3716 acres
of land for its 16 projects in the state against a meagre
payment ranging from Rs 2,639 per katha to Rs 8390 per katha.

The Trinamool Congress meanwhile today lambasted CPI-M for trying to draw a comparison between Singur and Rajarhat township, claiming the Left Front
government was engaged in land grabbing.

"Comparing Singur with Rajarhat is an absurd
proposition. Singur is the result of agitation by unwilling
landowners," leader of the Opposition in West Bengal Assembly
Partha Chatterjee said while reacting to Housing Minister
Goutam Deb`s allegation of stalling industrialisation by
Trinamool.

Chatterjee alleged that Deb had used strong-arm
tactics to take land from owners at Rajarhat and had forced
farmers in parting with their land.

"Of the huge land earmarked for IT and non-polluting
industries of the total land taken at Rajarhat, only about 200
acres have been given to the industries, what has happened to
the rest," Chatterjee questioned while claiming that IT giants
Wipro and Infosys were given only 100 acres of land there.

Reiterating his party`s demand for return of acquired
land to unwilling owners, he said that owners of 400 acres of
land at Singur had still not taken compensation from the state
government and want back their land, which are very fertile
and yield three crops annually.

PTI