Kolkata, Nov 13: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya today appealed for help to the villagers returning to their homes in trouble-torn Nandigram in the State's East Midnapore District.
The villagers had started fleeing their homes and hearths from January following battles between CPI-M cadres and Bhoomi Ucched Pratirodh Committee supporters.
Bhattacharya pointed out that there was no government fund available for victims of political strife.
He said those returning to their homes in Nandigram were facing burnt down houses, destroyed crops and missing cattle, adding that reconstruction was required on priority basis and all should come forward to help the poor people.
Bhattacharya assured that the government's priority was to restore normalcy in government offices in the area to start the developmental work.
Commencement of schools, restoration of communication and adequate health care facilities were his priorities, Bhattacharya told reporters here.
In reply to a question regarding CPI-M cadres' alleged armed recapture of lost territory in Nandigram, the Chief Minister counter-questioned whether those who had evicted the CPI-M cadres from their homes initially were armed or unarmed.
He said those who are now alleging that it's the silence of the cemetery in Nandigram, should question themselves whether it was the silence of the heavens there in the last eleven months.
The Chief Minister made it clear that his government wanted to put the horrors of the last 11 months in Nandigram behind, and move ahead with developmental work to bring progress in East Midnapore District.
Nandigram has been the scene of recurring clashes since January resulting in deaths, including 14 in police firing and violence on March 14 when villagers resisted the police from entering the area.
A state-wide shutdown called by the Opposition parties, on Monday, to protest against the continuing violence in Nandigram over acquisition of lands, brought the life in various parts of the State to a grinding halt.
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel have been deployed in sensitive areas to prevent acts of violence. The Centre, recently, sent a battalion of CRPF (1000 personnel) in the wake of the deteriorating law and order situation
The West Bengal Government had planned to set up a special economic zone (SEZ) for chemical industries in Nandigram, but had to abort the project as villagers refused to give their farmland for the project.