Railway minister Mamata Banerjee today asserted that there would be no forcible land acquisition for any railway project in the country.

“There will be no forcible land acquisition and for acquisition we will offer job for the people who lose their land,” Ms. Banerjee said at a function here after the 2,000 acre land reclamation process for the Rs 3,000-crore port at Sagar island was kicked off.

Mr. Banerjee’s statement followed criticism by the CPI(M) and left parties that the railway minister, who claimed herself a champion of ‘land losers’, had been “grabbing” land for setting up projects in the State.

Ms. Banerjee said that there would be no forcible land acquisition “even if the project does not come off ”.

The union minister said that the railways need “only little land” and for that “we will offer job for landlosers”.

The Trinamool Congress chief flayed the State government for “misleading and bluffing the public” by putting up “big advertisements” and hoardings.

“They blame us for the railway advertisements, but the CPI(M)-left front government has been making tall and false claims about the progress of the State ahead of the Assembly elections,” she alleged.

“The kind of progress it claims is ridiculous,” she added.

Ms. Banerjee promised rail connectivity to the proposed port and said that the project would ensure overall development of the Sunderbans region.

The port would be built in public private partnership model but land reclamation will be done by the Kolkata port.

The land reclamation process will take some 7-8 months with a total investment of Rs 100 crore and the Kolkata Port Trust proposes 10-11 jetties for cargo handling in the port.