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Trinamul roadblock finger at Deepa rally

Raiganj, Oct. 10: The Trinamul Congress today complained to the North Dinajpur district administration that Deepa Das Munshi’s rally scheduled for tomorrow to demand the AIIMS-like hospital in Raiganj would block NH34.

The rally at Panishala, where Deepa wants the hospital to be built, is the last in a series of meetings planned by the Raiganj MP and is supposed to be held along the highway that connects Barasat in North 24-Parganas and Dalkhola in North Dinajpur.

Trinamal district president Amal Acharya, who is the MLA from Itahar, said the Congress was resorting to “dramatics in the name of a political movement”. “Their plan is to block the national highway tomorrow. We have made a verbal complaint to the district magistrate stating that we apprehend a complete breakdown of the traffic system. If the highway is blocked, we will launch a counter agitation,” he said.

Acharya added that chief minister Mamata Banerjee had said during a rally in Itahar in August that she was not averse to Raiganj having the facility. “In fact the chief minister had said that she was not opposed to it at all, but would not take away land from farmers forcibly. We have identified a 100-acre plot in Udaypur (also in North Dinajpur and near Raiganj) where 80 per cent of the land is vested. Even then, the Congress is unnecessarily trying to create problems by blocking the highway,” he said.

Deepa had said the residents of Panishala, 9km from Raiganj, were willing to part with their land for the facility.

The Congress MP said the state government was against land acquisition for the hospital. “The state government is saying different things at different times. The people of north Bengal are with this movement as their sentiments are linked to it. Tomorrow we expect people, cutting across political lines, at our rally. We have constructed a dais about 30m from the highway. If the crowd spills over to the road, we have nothing to do,” she said.

District magistrate P.N. Bhutia said he had asked the police to ensure that the highway was not blocked. “I will not comment any further.”

The hospital was announced in 2009 and the North Dinajpur district administration had selected a 100-acre plot at Panishala, 9km from here, for the facility. A central team had inspected the land in 2010. After the Trinamul government came to power, there has been no development on the matter.