Update: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that the proposed Powergrid Corporation sub-station AT Bhangor in South 24 Parganas district might be relocated if the situation warranted.
In a re-tweet, Banerjee said, “No land will be acquired if people don’t want to give away land. Proposed power grid will be relocated if required.”
Bhangor: Villagers clashed with police on Tuesday at Bhangor in South 24 Parganas over construction of an electric sub-station even as the state government said the work on it has stopped and urged the agitators to sit for talks to restore peace. A senior police officer said the police were attacked by the villagers and a few of them were injured by stones and bricks thrown at them.
To bring the situation under control, police resorted to bursting teargas shells and lathicharge, he said. Villagers on the other hand alleged that the police resorted to unprovoked lathicharge and teargassing. Power Minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay denied any police action.
“Police did not retaliate but only chased away the villagers when stones and bricks were thrown at them,” Chattopadhyay told.
There was no reason for the protests as the state government has already halted the project following protests by farmers demanding more compensation for their land.
“I had invited them (farmers and villagers) several times for a meeting but they kept on refusing to meet me. The state government has stopped the project as per their demand. Still they are creating problem in the area. I do not see any logic behind this … I have doubts about their real intention,” Chattopadhyay said.
If the sub-station is set up everyone will get electricity whether they belonged to TMC, CPI(M), Congress or BJP, he added.
Secretariat sources said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has directed Food Processing and Horticulture Minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah, the local MLA, to rush to the area.
Police were posted at neighbouring Machhi Bhanga, and Tona on Monday night following demonstrations by villagers protesting the setting up of the substation by Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL).
District Magistrate PB Salim when contacted said the situation is “totally under control” and the administration was open to discussions with the villagers and farmers.
TMC Vice-president Mukul Roy who rushed to Bhangar, said “Our Chief Minister has clearly said that if people do not want the project it will not happen. Then who all are protesting and for what ? It’s clear that these people do not want development in the state.”