Land acquisition for roads and industry only through negotiation, says Mamata

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 15.03.13

Calcutta, Mar 15 (PTI): Land required for road construction and industry will be acquired through negotiation as far as possible with a human face, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Friday while iterating her government's stand that there will be no forced land acquisition.

Speaking on land acquisition for widening of National Highway 34 and the Katwa thermal power plant, Mamata said in the Assembly that people cannot be evicted from congested areas such as Bongaon and Gaighata, but she has requested that alignments be changed for modernising the roads.

The 443km-long NH-34 links Kolkata to Dalkhola in North Bengal, where it meets NH-31, which it turn links Bihar with Assam and the north-east.

People can be moved in a case of natural calamity, but not for industrial and road projects, she said.

Replying to a question from Surjyakanta Mishra, Leader of Opposition and CPI(M) Politburo member, Mamata said nothing will be done by “firing at the people.”

Stating that her government will not evict people with bulldozers, she gave an update on widening of the NH-34.

Mamata said that, out of 2380.36 acres required, 465.46 acres have been acquired in North 24 Parganas, Nadia, Malda, Uttar Dinajpur and Murshidabad districts.

Accusing the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) of not doing much about the project, she said repeated appeals had been made to the Prime Minister and the Union Road and Surface Transport Ministry in this regard.

Accepting that there were land acquisition issues in widening of the NH-34, Mamata said the NHAI is not doing enough even in areas where there is no land problem.

In North 24 Parganas, out of 21 mouzas, there are problems in five mouzas only, she said.

The Chief Minister said that in Panagarh there are some technical issues, which will be sorted out in the next three months.

Replying to a supplementary question, Mamata said a rehabilitation package was being given for the land acquired.

In this context she mentioned without elaborating much that she was against the Centre's Land Acquisition Act.