TC to back land bill if suggestions accepted



Kolkata: Trinamool Congress will support the land acquisition bill in Parliament only if its suggestions, like return of 10 per cent developed land, are accepted, party supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said.

"I will support the National Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 if what we have suggested is incorporated.

"We want among other things that 10 per cent developed land should be returned, rate of compensation should be more than market rate, besides a rehabilitation package and employment," Banerjee, whose party has 19 members in the Lok Sabha said.

She was asked by reporters whether she would give back the new bill, the draft of which has been put on public domain.

"It is our government's policy that we will not acquire even an inch of land forcibly," Banerjee, who steered the Singur and Nandigram movements, told Bengali TV news channel 'Star Ananda'.

She said that industrialists would have to purchase land directly for setting up units in the state. "They will feel more comfortable, if they go for direct purchase."

Banerjee, however, said land might be acquired for defence, national security, construction of embankments or railway lines which involved public interest.

"I am against acquisition of land for private purposes," she said, adding, "Even for public purpose we should not go for acquisition unless it involves essential services."

On NTPC's proposed power project at Katwa in Burdwan district for which the company has sought 1000 acre, the chief minister said that the PSU was told to construct the plant on 500 acre which was earlier acquired for the purpose.

"They have to build the project on land which is there. We cannot acquire more land for it. If they require more land, let them purchase it."

Without naming Tata Motors challenging the taking back of land at Singur by the state government, Banerjee said, "Someone has challenged it in the court. They can do it. I will wait for the court verdict, but the land is with the state government.

"I am committed to the people (to return land). I can't bluff the people of Singur. Even if I have to go to jail, I will be happy."

PTI