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House and job for land

Calcutta, May 23: Faced with an “immediate” requirement of 31,750 acres for industry over the next six months, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s government today announced a rehabilitation package for those who will be evicted in the process of land acquisition.

Commerce and industries minister Nirupam Sen and land and land reforms minister Abdur Rezzak Molla finalised the package and discussed faster acquisition of land with the district magistrates of North and South 24-Parganas, Hooghly, Howrah and the two Midnapores.

In neighbouring states like Orissa and Jharkhand, discontent among people displaced by industrial projects has caused protests and even violence in some cases. The success or failure of the Bhattacharjee government’s investment drive will depend to a great extent on how it tackles the transition of a largely rural society to industrial communities.

Under the package, displaced people figuring on the below-poverty-line list will be given housing, besides compensation. “In rural areas, it will be on the model of Indira Awas Yojna, while in urban areas, cluster housing will be prepared along the lines of Valmiki Awas Yojna for those below the poverty line,” Molla said.

The investor will be asked to offer jobs to marginal farmers who make their livelihood from agriculture. “DMs have been asked to prepare a list of such farmers. We will ask industry to provide employment to one member from each such family according to their qualification either in the industry coming up or in related services,” Molla said.

Land owners will be given compensation equivalent to 100 per cent of the value of their land plus 30 per cent, and 10 per cent of the land value if the evicted person undertakes not to go to court. The government will pay a 12 per cent interest for delayed payment of the land price.

Encroachers who have no claim on the land will be paid between Rs 1,000 and 10,000.

The package, to be valid for all land acquisitions that take place from now on, will be ratified by the cabinet on May 31.

See Bengal

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