Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What lies in store for other SEZs?

[ 9 Jan, 2007 0146hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

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KOLKATA: Singur showed the way, Nandigram is burning. Guess what is in
store for Baruipur, Bhangar, Kulpi and Salbani.

While the ruling CPM is struggling to make up for loss in its support
base at Nandigram, the Krishi Jami Bachao Committee is planning block
level committees in South 24 Parganas to resist the "government offensive".

Farmers here can at the most give up their land for shifting the
district headquarters to Baruipur, but won't sacrifice an inch for the
Salim project, said Kartick Sardar of the Krishi Bachao Committee.

The ruling Left Front is also a divided camp. LF partners have had
enough with the 'big brother', CPM. They are not going to give a free
hand to the chief minister anymore.

They want a detailed discussion with land map and all before giving a
go-ahead to SEZ projects. The CM also has his compulsions. He must
complete land acquisition at Nandigram by September 5.

Or else, there is a possibility that the "in-principle SEZ status"
conferred on the proposed chemical hub there, will be withdrawn. The
"in-principle nod" is valid for one year only.

Caught between the two polarities, Alimuddin Street is yet to launch its
political campaign in support of the land acquisition. It has realised
by now how difficult it is to make farmers turn into workers, as the CM
has been saying.

The change-over could be even more difficult in South 24 Parganas as the
Jamaat-e-Ulema Hind had hinted. The defiance was palpable in Kolkata on

Never before did Trinamul Congress activists try to enforce the bandh as
they did on Monday. They blocked cars at Gariahat, smashed window
screens of state buses and put up impromptu blockades on rail tracks.

The state plans to acquire 3,775 acres of land at Baruipur, 550 acres of
which will be used for the new headquarters of South 24 Parganas
district which is to be shifted there from Alipore.

The rest will be for the Salim Group's projects for an energy park, a
knowledge city and an industrial hub. A part of the 100-km Barasat to
Raichak eastern expressway will also pass through the areas.

A total of 35 mouzas including Dhopagcahi, Ramnagar, Uttarbhag,
Sonagachi, Gopalpur and others fall within this land area, and out of
them seven mouzas will fall in the area where the district headquarters
will be shifted.

Most of these lands are either residential plots or double-crop land.
There are several guava farming gardens in the areas and according to
locals, most of these gardens will be destroyed if the government
acquires the land.

Last week, eminent writer Mahasweta Devi held public meetings in
Baruipur, protesting against the government's plans to acquire farmlands
in the area.

South 24 Parganas CPM district secretary Santimoy Bhattacharya said the
process of issuing land acquisition notifications was going on for the
district headquarters shifting project.

"However, I still do not have any information on the land acquisition
matter for the Salim projects. But then there will be displacement. One
can't rule it out. Some people will lose their land as people did
earlier for a greater cause," he said.

Bhattacharya, however, assured that Baruipur or Bhangor will not face
another Singur experience.

"Contrary to the Tata project where they specifically identified lands
in Singur, here we would have the final say as to which lands the Salim
Group can get. We would work to see that residential and double crop
lands go untouched," he said.,curpg-2.cms


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