| Bhattacharjee in the Assembly. (Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya)
Calcutta, July 12: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said in the Assembly today that he would stick to his earlier statement that the government had got consent for 954 acres in Singur to set up the Tata small-car plant.
Although the discussion was on the police budget, Bhattacharjee — also the police minister — chose to clear the air on Singur first following a controversy generated by land reforms minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah’s apparently contradictory statistics.
The chief minister had mentioned 954 acres in a letter to Mamata Banerjee on December 20 last year. But Mollah recently told the House that the government had not got consent for 326 acres, triggering an uproar from the Opposition benches.
Replying to a query from Trinamul Congress MLA Saugata Roy, Bhattacharjee said: “Till there were 287 acres left for which consent was to be sought, the land reforms department was involved. After that, the WBIDC (West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation) took over.”
The chief minister said the WBIDC had set up camps in Singur that made “thousands of people” curious about the consent award. “That led to further availability of consent. Moreover, there were 34 acres of vested land. All this added up to 954 acres. So, I stick to my stand. The land reforms department is also correct as per its records.”
Bhattacharjee warned the Opposition any agitation that damages the wall around the Tata project would not be tolerated. “Breaking a boundary wall can’t be called a democratic agitation. We won’t tolerate such a disruptive agitation. If it is done, the government will take necessary steps.”
In Nandigram, the chief minister said, the police “had to fire after teargas and rubber bullets did not prove to be effective’’.
He added that the government was waiting for the CBI to complete its inquiry into the firing, after which it would take “appropriate action”.