|Mamata Banerjee, Goutam Deb
Calcutta, March 25: Bengal housing minister Goutam Deb today sent an SOS to Mamata Banerjee to try and end a Trinamul Congress-backed land resistance in Rajarhat that has stalled major housing projects.
Deb dialled Mamata seeking her help in installing high-tension electric poles in Rajarhats Trinamul-dominated Chhapna mouza, where land-losers have come in the way of the electrification of Action Areas II and III of the township.
Deb is chairman of Hidco, the state government agency responsible for developing Rajarhat. Although Hidco acquired land in Chhapna in 2004-05, it has failed to take possession after the majority of the 2,000-odd land-losers turned the mouza into a pocket of resistance with Trinamul support, protesting against poor compensation for their land.
I rang up Mamata Banerjee and discussed the problems regarding supply of electricity in some parts of Rajarhat. She assured me that she would look into the matter and get back to me after talking to the panchayat members of Chhapna, Deb said.
Sources in the housing department said Deb also invited Mamata to the inauguration of a housing society in Rajarhat with a request that she hand over the keys to the flat owners.
Trinamul leaders pleaded ignorance of Debs call to Mamata and said it was up to their leader to decide whether she should accept the ministers invitation.
Hidco sources told The Telegraph that Deb was happy with the positive response from Mamata.
The power station at Akandakeshari mouza cannot supply to all the parts of Rajarhat it is meant to unless electric poles are erected in some parts of Chhapna mouza.
Hidco has made at least 15 futile attempts to carry out the groundwork for the installation of the poles. The last attempt, under cover of darkness on January 31, ended at dawn with villagers chasing away officials of Hidco and the state electricity board.
Work at Action Areas II and III in New Town, where so many big projects are lined up, will not be possible unless we install the electric poles in Chhapna. The villagers are just not allowing us to enter the mouza, a Hidco official said.
Housing projects by Bengal Unitech, Shapoorji Palonji and Shrachi are stuck midway because electricity is yet to reach the area owing to the Chhapna resistance.
To try and end the stalemate, Hidco recently struck a deal with a private developer and paid some land-losers Rs 2 lakh per cottah over and above the official compensation of Rs 13,000 per cottah. But it failed to do the trick, which prompted Deb to dial Mamata.
We are yet to hear anything from Didi
. We have always supported her and we are confident that she wont desert us, said a land-loser who did not receive the extra Rs 2 lakh.