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Mamata land lock on New Town

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OUR BUREAU   |     |   Published 25.06.11, 12:00 AM

Calcutta, June 24: Mamata Banerjee today announced that her government would not acquire land at New Town in Rajarhat anymore.

“There will be no further acquisition of land in Rajarhat-New Town,” the chief minister said this evening after a meeting with housing minister Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. Labour minister Purnendu Bose, the vice-chairperson of the Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco), its managing director Saurabh Das and law minister Malay Ghatak were also present.

Mamata said the Left Front government had already acquired 7,085 acres for the township in North 24-Parganas. “Out of that (7,085 acres), only 250 acres were purchased from willing farmers. The rest (6,835 acres) was forcibly acquired,” she said at Writers’.

Of the 7,085 acres, she said, 1,807 acres lay unused. A decision on what the government would do with this land would be taken later, Mamata added.

The Left government had also decided to acquire 1,587 acres more for the township that spans 25 mouzas in the Rajarhat block. Mamata today said this decision was scrapped. “We have scrapped the previous government’s decision to acquire another 1,587 acres. Of this, the notification for the acquisition of 1,013 acres had been issued during the previous government’s tenure. That also stands cancelled.”

The chief minister reiterated an earlier decision to abolish the Hidco chairperson’s land allotment quota. “The CPM’s politics of quota stands annulled,” she said.

Rajarhat was the fief of Gautam Deb, the housing minister in the Left government. Deb quit as Hidco chairperson before filing his poll nomination papers.

The new Hidco chairperson has not been named.

On May 31, Mamata’s government abolished the Hidco chairperson’s quota for distribution of plots and decided to review all New Town land allotments since December 1, 2010.

The comptroller and auditor-general had last year pointed out discrepancies in land allotment through the Hidco chairperson’s quota. Deb had denied the allegation.

Sources in the housing ministry said that before the Assembly polls, Deb had allotted several plots without abiding by rules. “That is the reason why we stalled processing of all plots allotted after December 1, 2010,” said a minister.

Land acquisition in Rajarhat for the planned township started around 10 years ago.

After Trinamul made inroads in the area following the 2008 panchayat elections, protests erupted all over Rajarhat against land acquisition.

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