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Land fix for villagers

- Administration to build college in another area

Kharagpur, March 3: Villagers in a West Midnapore pocket who have donated land for a much-needed college in the area are in a fix as the district administration has decided to build the institution in another village that they had selected earlier.

Over 90 villagers of Jhilinga readily donated 8.7 acres to the district land department for the college after coming to know that the plot earmarked earlier could not be taken because of lack of proper documents.

Officials said the plots donated in Jhilinga had become vested land, for which the government would issue pattas (land rights) in a few months.

Despite the Jhilinga villagers donating their land for the college, the district administration decided to build the institution in Ambigeria as the plot is closer to NH6 and Madpur railway station.

“A five-acre plot, which belonged to a cooperative society in Ambigeria, was identified in January 2013. But the society found that some essential documents related to the land were missing. As the process was getting delayed because of this, we decided to scout for land somewhere else,” a district official said.

The official added that when the villagers of Jhilinga learnt that the land department was looking for plots for a college, 94 residents decided to donate 8.7 acres.

After a couple of surveys, the land was taken by the district administration. But by then, the cooperative society in Ambigeria had found the lost land documents.

“So we decided to go for our earlier choice because of the land’s proximity to the highway and the railway station,” the district official added.

A retired high school teacher in Jhilinga, Krishnendu Bera, said: “After we came to know that the district administration was looking for land, we discussed among ourselves and decided that some of us would donate contiguous plots for the purpose. After that, we informed the block development officer that 94 villagers would donate 8.7 acres for the college.”

Officials said they would need a minimum of five acres for the college.

The Jhilinga villagers went to the land department office in Midnapore in August last year and submitted affidavits for donating the land.

The former deputy chief of the Trinamul-run Palsha panchayat, Benoy Raj, said: “The college would have been more appropriate for Jhilinga as the nearest college is 25km away.”

Asked why the land department decided to go back to its earlier choice, district magistrate Ghulam Ali Ansari said: “The decision to build the college in Ambigeria was taken because of better connectivity. But there were some problems with the land of the cooperative society and so we decided to look for an alternative plots. We found land in Jhilinga and were proceeding to construct the college there. But the problem in Ambigeria was solved and we decided to build the college there.”

District officials said that as the plots had not been acquired, they would be returned to the villagers through pattas.