The Telegraph
Tuesday , July 3 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Land ‘trauma’ for Trinamul
- Care centre shifted after agitations for more compensation

Tamluk, July 2: The Trinamul-led Haldia Development Authority (HDA) has decided to shift a proposed trauma care centre out of an East Midnapore pocket because of protests by landlosers for more compensation, a demand the party had backed when it was not in power.

The centre was supposed to come up on two acres of a 47-acre plot acquired by the then CPM-controlled HDA in Mahishadal’s Bamunia village in 2006 for industry.

But after Singur and Nandigram erupted over the issue of land acquisition in 2006-07, Trinamul started backing the agitations by the 100-odd landlosers in Mahishadal. The landlosers had been given Rs 4.4 lakh for every acre acquired. They claimed the compensation amount was not enough and stalled land filling in 2008.

When the HDA tried to resume land filling this June on the two acres earmarked for the trauma care centre, the landlosers again stopped work.

HDA chairman and Tamluk Trinamul MP Subhendu Adhikari said today that the centre would be shifted to an HDA plot. “We wanted to set up the trauma care centre in Bamunia. But we are being prevented from doing so by some people. We don’t want to use force or do something that might harm the people. So we have decided to shift the trauma care centre and set it up on an HDA plot,” Adhikari said.

Although Adhikari did not specify where the centre would be built, an HDA official said it could come up in the Bhowanipore area of Haldia.

HDA sources said the centre, which would mainly treat accident victims, was planned at Bamunia because it is along NH 41 (Haldia-Kolaghat Road). Bhowanipore is also on the same road.

HDA officials said the farmers demanded Rs 25 lakh for an acre. On June 13, a meeting was held at the local Itamogra gram panchayat office between the landlosers and Trinamul panchayat chief Ramkrishna Das.

The farmers told the panchayat chief that they were ready to settle for a compensation of Rs 15 lakh per acre. But the HDA decided to shift the centre any way.

The farmers had also said they would not object to land filling on the two acres where the trauma care centre was supposed to come up if their demand was accepted, but would not allow work to proceed on the remaining plot.

A senior HDA official said it was “illogical” to demand higher compensation for land that had already been acquired. “If we pay an increased rate of compensation for land acquired six years ago, many such agitations demanding more money would be launched elsewhere,” he said.

Panchayat chief Das said that within a year of the acquisition at Bamunia, a private company purchased land directly from farmers at Rs 12 lakh per acre in neighbouring Kapaseria. The market rate of the Bamunia land is Rs 25 lakh per acre now, he said.

Trinamul sources said that after the new government came to power, party leaders in Mahishadal realised that it was not possible to protest against the HDA or the state administration as both were controlled by Trinamul.

“Trinamul is no longer leading the landlosers’ agitation. But we fear that the CPM may start backing the landlosers. Subhenduda shifted the site of the trauma care centre so that the CPM can’t launch any movement with the landlosers,” said a Haldia Trinamul leader close to Adhikari.

Today, nearly 100 landlosers at Bamunia demonstrated in front of the Itamogra gram panchayat office. “The panchayat chief had assured us he would take up our demand with the HDA. But he did nothing,” said Dipendranath Mondal, one of the villagers from whom land was acquired.

CPM district secretariat member Niranjan Sihi said: “We will support the landlosers in their agitation.”