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SEZ: Another village braces for land fight

Mahishadal, Jan. 11: A procession of 500 villagers threaded its way yesterday along National Highway-41 in East Midnapore’s Mahishadal to express solidarity with the Nandigram farmers in their agitation against acquisition of land.

The villagers have their own reason to rally against acquisition of farmland for industry. A special economic zone and biotechnology park, scheduled to come up in Haldia, spills over to Mahishadal, about 120 km from Calcutta.

The Haldia Development Authority has identified 13 mouzas measuring 24 sq km for acquisition.

“The farmers in Nandigram have showed us how to build up a movement against land acquisition. We will prevent land acquisition in Mahishadal, too,” said 24-year-old Uttam Shau, a farmer who owns four bighas in Dakshin Kashimnagar, and one of those leading the procession at Garughata.

Haldia Development Authority chairman and Tamluk MP Lakshman Seth, however, said the quantum of land to be acquired and the land map were yet to be drawn up. “We have only identified the mouzas.”

A notification similar to the one which led to the flare-up in Nandigram was sent by the Haldia Development Authority to the block development office in Mahishadal on December 28 last year.

“We came to know about the land acquisition preparations on September 13 last year when the block development officer was in the process of drawing up a list of the mouzas. We immediately set up a committee to build up a movement,” said Tapan Maity, the local committee secretary of the SUCI in Mahishadal and convener of the Jami Banchao Bastu Banchao Committee.

Maity said the committee was set up with active participation of the local SUCI, Trinamul Congress and even the CPI. Both the pradhans of Itamogra-I and Itamogra-II gram panchayats belong to the CPI and the party is a dominant force at the panchayat level.

“People have voted me to power for seven consecutive terms. If I don’t participate in the movement, it will be a betrayal on my part,” said Sudhanshu Sekhar Barik, pradhan of Itamogra-II.

The CPI panchayat samity member of Mahishadal, Nirmal Kumar Das, is one of the assistant secretaries of the committee.


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posted by Bimal 12.1.07,


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