in a volte face, the West Bengal chief minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, has announced the withdrawal of the notification for land acquisition in Nandigram that had triggered a violent agitation in the first week of January and claimed six lives.
Speaking to the media, Bhattacharjee admitted 'major lapses' on part of the local administration in handling the issue and said he has asked the East Midnapore district administration to tear up the land acquisition notification by the Haldia Development Authority (had).
had's notification to identify areas for setting up a chemical hub by the Indonesia-based Salim group had agitated Nandigram's farmers. On January 3, 2007, they had a clash with the police after they refused to let go of their lands for the proposed project.The state government has said that all acquisitions will be done after consulting political parties, farmers and landless people and there would also be provisions for rehabilitation.
The West Bengal government has faced violence over the acquisition of agricultural land at Singur for Tata's small car project. In the last week of December 2006, the state government gave "permissive possession" to Tata Motors despite opposition from the local residents and other political parties. The move even received flack from its major partner, All-India Forward Bloc. Later, cpi(m) general secretary Prakash Karat put his seal on land acquisition at Singur and said the party is now working on a general guideline on how to accommodate industry and urbanisation based on a scientific land use policy.
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