10 acres? Infy, Wipro say no Govt works on new land plan

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Calcutta
  • Published 16.09.09
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Calcutta, Sept. 16: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today disclosed that Wipro and Infosys had rejected a government proposal to give them 10 acres each in Rajarhat.

“They are not interested in it as they need much more land. Besides, the land price at Rajarhat New Town and the Hidco area was prohibitive for them. We will try to provide in Rajarhat as much land as possible, keeping in mind their demand,” the chief minister reportedly told a Left Front meeting.

The two companies were to get 90 acres each in the 1,200-acre township straddling Rajarhat and Bhangar that was scrapped after the Vedic Village controversy.

Housing minister Gautam Deb said he was working on a new land plan for the IT giants which Bhattacharjee may announce tomorrow.

Left Front chairman Biman Bose said later: “The government is not rejecting (the projects involving) Wipro and Infosys. But the chief minister said the government would not be able to pursue the project where it was planned earlier.’’

Bhattacharjee explained why the land in Rajarhat could not be given to the IT companies. A source quoted him as saying: “We cannot hand over the land to Wipro and Infosys knowing that it was acquired forcibly. This would damage the government’s image. But we have a moral responsibility to provide alternative land to them as we had promised earlier.... I am in touch with Azim Premji (the Wipro chief) and Debesh (Das , the IT minister) is in contact with Infosys. We have requested them to have patience and faith in us.”

According to front partners, Bhattacharjee also hinted that the government may try taking over the land allegedly acquired by force by Vedic Village owner Raj K. Modi and his associates. He reportedly said: “Let us consider the legal possibilities on what can be done with land procured forcibly. But it would depend on the outcome of the cases against the accused.’’

Although the Left partners wanted a detailed discussion on Vedic Village, the CPM avoided it.

According to front sources, CPI leader and water resources minister Nandagopal Bhattacharya and Forward Bloc veteran Asoke Ghosh asked for Bhattacharjee’s comments on Vedic Village and the IT township. But Biman Bose said there was no time and that the chief minister would make a brief report on Vedic Village.

Bhattacharjee told his partners that the government was not aware of land grab by the resort’s owners before a flare-up at a football match at Vedic Village.

“Many resorts and housing complexes have come up in and around Calcutta in the last few years. There was no problem with them. We came to know about forcible land procurement by the (Vedic) Village authority with the use of their musclemen only after the flare-up during a football match there,” front leaders quoted Bhattacharjee as saying.

Vowing that the government would not spare anybody involved in such “illegal activities”, Bhattacharjee told the meeting: “Many more will be arrested as investigation continue and the government will pursue cases against all the wrongdoers.’’