West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while ruling out the forcible acquisition of land even for infrastructure projects, said here on Friday that there was no question of a “compromise” when it came to heritage structures, which are “national assets.”
She was speaking at a function where the deed of the house in the city in which Sister Nivedita lived was handed over to representatives of the Ramakrishna Sarada Mission.
Earlier this year, Ms. Banerjee had handed over the deed of the property adjacent to the house of Swami Vivekananda. The property had been acquired by the State government after it learnt that a massive construction had been planned on the site, which would obscure the view of Swami Vivekananda’s house.
“I am opposed to forcible land acquisition. But these are our national assets…There can be no compromise,” Ms. Banerjee said.
The Chief Minister said that before acquiring Sister Nivedita’s house in Bagbazar in the city, she had tried to negotiate the matter with the owner of the property and had been willing to offer up to Rs. one crore, but was refused.
“At that time I decided that enough is enough. I asked the Land Department to start the proceedings to acquire the property,” Ms. Banerjee said adding that she was capable of being “rough and tough” when it came to taking difficult decisions.
“If they [the owners of the property] want to go to court on the matter then we shall fight them in court,” she asserted.
Ms. Banerjee also said that the State government will in no way interfere with the functioning of educational institutions run by the Ramakrishna Mission and its sister organisations.
“There is a certain way in which you run these institutions from sunrise to sunset. Why should there be any political interference?” she asked.