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Nandi call for land crores

Tamluk, Jan. 23: Everything — even land in Nandigram —has a price, if it is 10 times more than the market rate.

Some villagers in the region that made land one of the most explosive issues in the country have said they will give a stretch for a road if the government pays them Rs 3 crore for an acre.

According to a land department official, the market price of the 3.38 acres identified for the road is between Rs 25 lakh and Rs 30 lakh an acre. He added that the 1.5km bypass was needed to ease traffic in Nandigram, the epicentre of the anti-acquisition movement in 2007.

“The land is spread over 1.5km from the Nandigram bus stand to the block development office. Vehicles from Calcutta, Tamluk and Contai will be able to use the bypass skirting Nandigram town,” the official said.

The government notification for acquiring the plots in Tarachandbar and Gadaibalbar villages was issued on December 31. Land will have to be acquired from around 140 villagers.

The villagers said the value of the plots would increase manifold with the laying of the road. “So, we will not give our land if we are not paid Rs 3 crore an acre,” said farmer Gurupada Das.

The plots include farmland and residential areas.

The land department official said additional district magistrate Suman Hawladar had called a meeting with the villagers tomorrow.

District officials said the bypass was needed as Nandigram had become congested, with makeshift shops encroaching on the main road. “It takes about 30 minutes to travel from one end of the town to the other (1km) during peak hours,” the official said.

Abu Taher, the Trinamul deputy chief of the Nandigram panchayat samiti, said: “We hope to decide on a price soon.”

Niranjan Sihi, the district secretariat member of the CPM, said: “Mamata Banerjee’s hands-off land policy has prompted the villagers to demand unreasonable rates.”