Kolkata, Dec 27, 2010 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS): West Bengal’s main opposition party Trinamool Congress (TMC) recently thrashed the state’s Left Front government over the alleged land scam in the Rajarhat township on the city’s northern outskirts and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the matter.
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee retorted to the Trinamool offensive with terming them an ‘anti-development force’ yet again.
State Housing Minister Gautam Deb said that while the Trinamool had reaped the benefits from the Left Front government’s land acquisition polices in Singur and Nandigram, this time the ploy would not work.
With just five months left for the state’s Assembly Elections, things are heating up in Bengal as like the brouhahas over Singur and Nadigram which led to landslide gains for the opposition in earlier elections, Rajarhat seems to be gearing up to be the TMC’s new line of attack.
On Thursday, Opposition Leader in the Assembly Partha Chatterjee accused the Communist Part of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front government of snatching away land from farmers at unfair prices.
“We demand a CBI inquiry into the land acquisition and financial swindling in Rajarhat. We need to know how the entire thing was done,” he said, addressing a rally in front of the state-owned company implementing the Rajarhat township project Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO).
He said that the ‘government-sponsored’-scam had rendered thousands of farmer and fishermen families homeless, demanding a white paper from the state administration over the matter.
Meanwhile, addressing a congregation of state government employees at another venue, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee lambasted the TMC for stalling the state’s industrialisation and development.
He hit out at the Trinamool by saying it was the only opposition in any state that resorted to such ‘destructive politics’.
“But ultimately, they will not succeed and no one will be able to stop the state’s industrial process,” Bhattacharjee said.
State Housing Minister and HIDCO Chairman Gautam Deb shook off the Trinamool’s allegations and said the land acquisition process had been executed 15 years ago with full consent of the land owners.
The administration had even sought external expertise on mitigating possible impacts of urbanisation on the local environment, he said.
But Deb’s stand somewhat mellowed as he invited the TMC to discuss additional compensation for those who were complaining of having lost their land.
“It is possible, that after discussion, I might agree to some of their demands,” the minister said.