Mamata asks govt to return land to unwilling farmers

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Kolkata, Sep 16 (UNI) Outrightly rejecting the state government package, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today reiterated her demand for returning 300 acre of land to the unwilling farmers.

Ms Banerjee held a meeting in front of the Tata project's main gate, by the side of the National Highway, the same place where she held an agitation for 15 days demanding that the land be given back to those farmers, who had not accepted their cheques.

She said Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had promised to give back maximum land in presence of Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi but later they refused to pay any heed to it.

The four-member comittee formed to look into the land that could be made available to the farmers, were given seven days time but the government announced its package on the fifth day itself even before the commitee submitted its report, she stated.

'' The Chief Minister called on me on the fourth day. I asked the Chief Minister to follow the deal that had been struck in front of the Governor. We were even ready for further discussions. But the very next day the new package was announced even before the submission of the report of the committe.'' She said, '' We think the government has violated the deal. We are asking the farmers to throw the package into the dustbin. When the Governor returns on September 19 we will holds talks with him and only then we will take our final decision. We cannot disrespect him.

We however, hope the government will not be rigid and be flexible enough to return 300 acres of land within the project area. Let agriculture and industrialisation go hand in hand.'' She claimed that those who did not take their cheques should be given back their land.

Yesterday, the CPI (M) also held a rally at the same spot and the National Highway had been closed for about three to four hours.

She said today when the Highway was closed for a few hours the state administration threatened her that an FIR would be filed against her. '' However, I apologise to the people for causing inconvenience to them.'' Pradesh Congress leader Subrata Mukherkee also came to the meeting venue.

He said, '' I came here not as a leader of the Cong but as an INTUC leader and to respect and support the agitaion led by Ms Banerjee. After this even if my political existence is at stake I will not be bothered.'' Three local residents had also come to the meeting. They had given their land but now they wanted to return their cheques in lieu of their land. She claimed that there a number of them.

Meanwhile, CPI (M) district committee member Dibakar Das claimed that five farmers had applied to the district magistrate for cheques for the new package.They would collect the cheques on Friday,he added.

UNI XC KK AB 1841

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