September 23, 2008

West Bengal Govt. extends deadline for compensation

KOLKATA,23rd September: With the number of farmers reconsidering their earlier decision to refuse monetary compensation for their plots acquired for the Tata Motors project at Singur rising, the West Bengal government extended by two days its deadline — previously set for Monday — for the acceptance of applications. But, the Trinamool Congress leadership has reiterated its threat to renew the agitation for the return of land from within the project area to “unwilling farmers.”

Seventy applications seeking compensation have been made to the authorities concerned — an indication of a change in the mind of the farmers who have so far been averse to accepting compensation. Forty-five cheques have been issued so far.

The Trinamool leadership, however, alleged that these farmers were under pressure from CPI(M) activists to accept the compensation cheques.

Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee reasserted that the agitation for the handing back of 300 acres from within the project site would be resumed unless the State government “operationalised” within seven days (beginning September 21) the understanding it had reached with her associates in the presence of Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi on September 7 on the issue of returning land to farmers who had not received compensation.

She accused the State government of “violating” the “agreement” arrived at in the presence of the Governor — an act that was “unconstitutional” for which she would be demanding the invocation of Article 355 of the Constitution.

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