Sir — It seems that the people of Loba are going to be saddled with a Singur-like situation at the behest of Mamata Banerjee (“Meet OC audacious”, Dec 5). The Khagra Joydev captive coal block was allocated to the Damodar Valley Corporation along with other power-generating agencies by the coal ministry in 2005. The joint venture project, DVC-EMTA, came into being for mining operations and it required 1,391 hectares of land. Ground work for mining had already started. This is apparent from the deployment of an earth-moving machine by DVC-EMTA. It is being alleged that the land mafia mobilized the villagers and launched a movement demanding higher compensation. Soon the protesters had seized the earth-moving machine. When the police were sent to retrieve the machine, a pitched battle ensued and the cops were compelled to open fire, complicating the situation further. In an attempt to quell the anger of the local people, the chief minister ruled out forcible land acquisition during a rally. This assertion has now compromised the possibility of conciliatory proceedings between the villagers and DVC-EMTA. At the rally, Banerjee asked villagers to “sleep without any worries” as the government “would not take away their land”. Unfortunately, the government is yet to make alternative provisions to break the deadlock.
What is of concern to civil society is that when Banerjee announces administrative decisions at rallies, she does so without going through formal procedures. She should have thought twice before ordering the removal of Arnab Guha, the officer-in-charge of the Dubrajpur police station. Banerjee refuses to believe that the state is not her fiefdom.
Keeping in view the rising cost of imported coal — it has trebled in the past few years — the chief minister should intervene so that coal mining can be started to ensure a steady supply of low-cost fossil fuel that can help the power-generating company. Otherwise, the economic situation of not just Loba but the whole of West Bengal is likely to suffer further damage.
Subhankar Mukherjee,Borehat, Burdwan
Sir — It is rather surprising that in spite of the solidarity shown by Mukul Roy and Mamata Banerjee towards the villagers demanding higher compensation for land, the agitators have been rather lukewarm in their response towards these leaders. It has been reported that the villagers have shown little interest in collecting the compensation announced by the chief minister for the victims of the police firing. The confusion over the transfer of the OC further dented the chief minister’s image.
Mamata Banerjee is losing her popularity due to internal feuds, unfulfilled promises, and the irresponsible conduct of some of her colleagues. One hopes that she will realize the ground realities before it is too late.
A.S. Mehta, Calcutta
Sir — A group of 25 American lawmakers from across the political spectrum of the United States of America have urged the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, to reconsider the decision to grant a visa to Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, because his government has not brought justice to the victims of the riots of 2002. If that is the case, then why is Warren Anderson not being sent to India to be tried for his alleged involvement in the Bhopal gas tragedy? This shows that the US is wary that Modi may become India’s next prime minister.
It is a fact that Modi failed to protect the life and property of Muslim citizens during the communal violence. It is alleged that he had remained partisan. He is yet to apologize for the gruesome incident. Many people oppose Modi for his brand of politics, his populist rhetoric, his acerbic tongue and his lack of respect for women. But Modi is an elected chief minister of one of the most developed states in India and foreign governments should not deny him a visa.
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee,Faridabad
Sir — Mahendra Singh Dhoni seems to have lost his skills as a captain. This has become evident in the recent matches. He has been trying to justify his stand instead of improving his own performance (“The easiest thing for me now is to quit captaincy”, Dec 10). Such problems tend to come to light when the team fails to perform. The Indians have received severe drubbings in the last few Test series.
Dhoni had asked for ‘rank turners’ after the Ahmedabad match which itself raised a needless controversy. But after asking for the turners, did the team win the Mumbai Test? Arguments such as turners assist India and remove the toss from the equation are specious by nature. England now have in their ranks two great spinners in Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar. The former India captain, Nari Contractor, rightly said that Dhoni’s demand for designer wickets is incorrect. He agreed that getting the home advantage is a part of today’s game but making “open demands” certainly “doesn’t make sense.” Test matches should go on for at least four if not five days. After all, spectators and television viewers pay to watch the proceedings. Dhoni should mull over ways to improve the performances of his bowlers and batsmen. This is not the time to oust Dhoni from captaincy, but to remind him that the team has to perform better.
S. Kamat, Bardez, Goa