Kolkata: After the Mamata Banerjee government’s immense success in returning land to farmers in Singur, it has decided to return the same to 52 families in Kawakhali who had their lands seized by the then-Left Front government to set up a residential township at Kawakhali in Siliguri.
It may be recalled that the Left Front government had acquired plots in the Kawakhali, Purajhar and Tikulikatha areas for the township. Despite opposition, the acquisition process continued till 2007. Most people, who lost their land, were owners of small plots and they had raised slogans against the then-Chief Minister and the then-Urban Development minister.
Recollecting the days when land was “forcibly” acquired by the erstwhile Left Front government, State Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Partha Chatterjee said: “There was protest against land acquisition in Kawakhali. We had raised our voices against it and faced several hurdles when we went to Siliguri at that time. Now, we are returning the land. They will be getting the land in the area under the jurisdiction of Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA).”
It may be recalled that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had kept her word of returning land to the farmers in Singur as it was forcefully acquired by the Left Front government “going against the will of land owners”. It was in September 2016 that the Supreme Court had directed the state government to return the land to the farmers after returning to its earlier condition. The apex court had observed the land acquisition as a “farce”.
Within the time set by the Supreme Court, the Mamata Banerjee government had once again turned the land to its previous condition and distributed it to its actual owners. The Chief Minister had said that Singur would be a model in the agriculture sector of the world. The people of Kawakhali have appreciated the move of the state government to return the land to those who had lost them to “forceful” acquisition.