No Forcible Land Acquisition in Bengal: Mamata


Burdwan: Amidst the central government’s push to bring on board the states on controversial Land Bill, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said said that her government would never go for forcible land acquisition.

Banerjee, who skipped the NITI Aayog’s Governing Council meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi to discuss various issues, including the land Bill, said her state was following an alternative land policy as it “cannot wait indefinitely for the Centre to come up with its land acquisition policy”.

“We have framed an alternative land policy where direct purchase can be done through negotiations without any forcible acquisition,” the chief minister said at the 100th administrative meeting of the Trinamool Congress government here. Banerjee said that the government had been able to complete various projects through direct land purchase after holding negotiations with the land-owners.

She said that the government had to do this because many projects were getting stalled in the absence of Centre’s land acquisition policy which was pending. “We cannot wait indefinitely for the Centre to come up with its land acquisition policy, so we have started following this model. We have taken the people into confidence while acquiring land,” the chief minister said.

Citing instances where the state had been able to give land to big projects, Banerjee said that the Andal greenfield airport was given land for completion as well as NTPC’s Katwa project, among others. Several other projects for bridges and irrigation had started by acquiring land following this route, she said. “It depends on case-to-case basis”.

The state had also created a land bank, land use policy and land map. “We have taken land from this bank to set up industrial parks,” she said. Referring to Singur, which witnessed vehement opposition by her to forcible acquisition for Tata’s Nano project by erstwhile Left Front government, she said, “There was a problem. But for others there had been no such issue”.

On the other hand state opposition parties skipped Mamata’s invitation to attend the meet.