Special Correspondent

Tells partners: ryots' interests will not be compromised

Buddhadeb meets AIFB, RSP leaders separately Survey of agricultural land to help earmark land for industry Affected farmers to get compensation, to be rehabilitated

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee held separate meetings with leaders of two major constituents of the ruling Left Front here on Sunday to allay misgivings over the acquisition of agricultural land for setting up new industries.

The meetings also aimed at dispelling fears that such a move could imperil food security.

While asserting that farmers' interests would not be compromised in the land acquisition process, Mr. Bhattacharjee said the Government would conduct a survey on the status of different categories of agricultural land, including fallow land. This would help identify land not just for industrial purposes, but also for enhancing agricultural productivity, either through conversion of mono-cropping to multi-cropping or by extension of irrigation facilities.

Mr. Bhattacharjee met leaders of the All-India Forward Bloc (AIFB) and the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) to discuss the matter.


State secretary of the AIFB Ashok Ghosh said that a committee would be formed for overseeing the survey and preparing a land-map to identify categories of agricultural land. "This will help not only in selecting land for new industries but also identify plots that could be converted into multi-crop land to consolidate food security in the State," he said.

Some Left Front partners insist on such a survey before land is allotted for industries.

There have been concerns in certain political circles over the fate of farmers whose land might have to be acquired for setting up projects by groups such as Tata Motors and the Indonesian conglomerate, the Salim Group in the State. It had been agreed at a recent meeting of the Left Front committee that the affected farmers would be rehabilitated and given compensation.

Proposed projects

Tata Motors proposes to set up a Rs. 1,000 crore small car manufacturing plant at Singur in Hooghly district. The Salim Group has sought from the State Government 35,000 acres of land for its different projects, which include infrastructural projects in North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts and the setting up of a special economic zone in Haldia in Purbo Medinipur district.