Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: Attempts to restore peace in Nandigram of West Bengal's Purbo Medinipur district suffered a setback on Thursday. Representatives of political parties and groupings opposed to the acquisition of farmland for the proposed Special Economic Zone there walked out of a meeting demanding that the authorities assure locals that land would not be acquired for the project without their consent.

Over the weekend six persons in Nandigram were killed in group clashes sparked off by reports that the land acquisition process was set to begin.

Though there has been no fresh violence, tension prevails in the area, largely cut off from the rest of the district as approach roads have been dug up and culverts damaged during the trouble to make it inaccessible to outsiders and police.

Nearly all political parties have been reiterating the need to facilitate the restoration of peace in the area. The process was given a boost following instructions to the district authorities from Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee that the locals be given the assurance that the State Government had no immediate plans to acquire land for the proposed project.

Those who walked out of the meeting were representatives of the Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh (Resistance against Land Acquisition) Committee and included members of the Trinamool Congress, the Congress.

The administration is trying to persuade the Committee on the need for starting immediate repairs of the damaged culverts.