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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

South 24-Parganas: Protesters shut power grid

Despite repeated agitations and meetings, our demands have not been met: Mirza Hasan

Arkamoy Datta Majumdar Calcutta Published 06.07.22, 01:48 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. Shutterstock

The power grid station in Bhangar in South 24-Parganas, the site which had turned into a hotbed of agitation in 2017, was put under lock and key by protesting villagers who claimed that the administration has not lived up to its promises of giving them amenities.

“The administration and the villagers had an agreement that while the work for the power grid will continue, other amenities will be provided to them. Now, work for the power grid has been completed but our demands remain unfulfilled,” said Mirza Hasan, joint secretary of the Jomi, Jibika, Bastutantra O Poribeshm Raksha Committee (committee to protect land, livelihood, environment and ecosystem). “Despite repeated agitations and meetings, our demands have not been met. This is why we have locked the gate of the power grid and this (state of affairs) will continue unless something concrete comes up,” Hasan added.

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The committee had spearheaded the anti-power grid agitation in 2017, which claimed two lives

In August 2017, villagers and the administration reached an agreement. But in 2018 and 2021, the project was stopped by the villagers who alleged that the government wasn’t fulfilling the promises.

“The government was supposed to set up a multipurpose cold storage for the agrarian economy of Bhangar. Land has been identified but no work has started yet. An upgraded hospital was to come up. The building has been made, but there are neither doctors nor any equipment,” Hasan alleged. He added the government has also not cleaned the Vidyadhari river as promised.

On January 26, 2021, the power grid was again put under lock and key and the agitation was withdrawn after minister Firhad Hakim had said that the issues will be resolved within 45 days. However, even after almost one-and-half years nothing has changed, Hasan complained.

“A meeting has been called by the administration on Wednesday. Its outcome will decide the future course of the agitation,” he said.

Bhangar’s MLA Naushad Siddique issued a statement pledging support to the agitation. He said that it is common for the government to forget its promises. “However I request the agitators to ensure that the protests are peaceful and non-violent,” Siddique said.

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