State forcibly acquired land for PGCIL project in Bhangar: LF

NEW DELHI
5 May 2017

Left parties and civil rights groups today accused the West Bengal government of forcibly acquiring land for a power grid project in Bhangar block in South 24 Parganas district of the state and the police of "killing" two protesters.

They demanded that a judicial probe be conducted into the two deaths, allegedly due to police firing in January this year and release of other protesters, comprising largely local farmers, who were "jailed on false charges".
The clash took place over acquiring land for construction of a PGCIL sub-station in the area. "Land for the project was acquired violating laws and there was no transparency. People stand hoodwinked. A Trinamool Congress (TMC) syndicate is at work there," CPI-ML (Liberation) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya alleged.

Bhattacharya accused the TMC of being in "hand in glove" with the BJP-led government at the Centre, whose project the state government is implementing. Recalling that the TMC was propelled to power in the state in 2011 on the back of its struggle in Singur and Nandigram land acquisition controversies nearly a decade ago, Bhattacharya accused the party of doing "exactly what it fought against". Singur and Nandigram rows refer to alleged forcible land acquisitions by the then CPM-led Left Front government in West Bengal for setting up a car factory and special economic zone (SEZ) respectively.

CPI-ML (Red Star) general secretary K N Ramchandran, who accompanied Bhattacharya, alleged no social and environment impact assessment was carried out while undertaking the project, for which 13.5 acre land spread over 16 villages was acquired. "Attempts are being made to suppress voices of locals," Ramchandran alleged. The left parties and civil rights groups, People's Union for Civil Liberties, Mazdoor Kranti Parishad and, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression said they will stage protests in Delhi and Kolkata later this month.

They have also lined up a public hearing, to be chaired by retired justice A K Shah, in Bhangar on May 20 and 21. (PTI)