Reiterating her stand against forcible acquisition of land, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday promised “adequate compensation” to all those families who will give their land for railway projects. She said the Trinamool Congress was opposed to the proposal to set up a chemical hub at Nayachar island, close by.
Inaugurating the commencement of work for the construction of railway line to link Nandigram and Deshpran at Nandigram in West Bengal’s Purbo Medinipur district, Ms. Banerjee said: “Alignment [with the people] is necessary [for laying of railway tracks]. But I will never endorse forcible acquisition of land for the purpose.”
Pointing out that seven houses have to be demolished for the new railway line, she said the railway authorities would rebuild houses at a different location and also provide job for a member of each of the affected families.
Dedicating the project to the people of Nandigram many of whom, Ms. Banerjee claimed, had lost their lives or their homes during the movement over land acquisition for the chemical hub, she declared that one of the stations on the new route would be named after the “Nandigram martyrs.” The entire project will be completed within one-and-half-years.
Chemical hub proposal
Ms. Banerjee said that instead of a chemical hub on Nayachar island, an ecological park would be built there.
The State government is keen on setting up a chemical hub on Nayachar island but the Trinamool Congress has opposed the project from the beginning citing environmental reasons. The project, however, was recently given green signal by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.
“We do not want tandav industry at Nayachar. Rather we will set up an eco-park utilising the solar energy, which will serve the fishermen and farmer communities…it will show a new path to India,” Ms. Banerjee said.
Accusing a section of the administration for stoking violence in the State for the sake of narrow politics, she said “democracy can never be annihilated through murder” and that mass movement had to be given credence by the State government.
“We will establish peace in the State even at the cost of my own blood. Widespread development and safeguarding secularism are my primary concerns,” Ms. Banerjee said.