Sunday, April 29, 2007

Truth behind the compensation package of West Bengal Government

There is propaganda that WB government acquires land with a reasonable rate. This becomes the logic to defend the ongoing land acquisition programme in WB. In reality, WB government or other government agencies acquire land and then hand over to different companies. Sometimes they give subsidies, for instance to TATA in Singur and sometimes make huge profit. In Haldia, near Nandigram, East Medinipur, Haldia Development Authority (HDA) acquired land (and it gave the circular for the land acquisition in Nandigram as well). They started land acquisition to ‘develop’ Haldia. Here we will see how HDA made huge profit from the land of poor peasantry.

Couple of days before, Buddha came Haldia to lay the foundation stone of a bio diesel factory of Imamy group. HDA gave 30 acres of land to Imamy with a rate of Rs 7 lakh/acre whereas when it acquired the land from farmers, it spent Rs 75 thousand to 1 lakh/acre. In the same way, HDA gave 25 acres and 3.5 acres to S T V Technologies at Bargashipur for IT park and housing complex respectively. In its 87th board meeting, HDA decided the rate Rs 14 lakh/acre for 25 acres land. The rate for 3.5 acres was Rs 20 lakh/acre. Interestingly when HDA acquired the same land it paid only Rs 1.15 lakh/acre at the most. Similarly, it gave 50 acres of land in Chakdwip and 10 acres more in three other places to R D B Industries for a proposed track terminal. For this land HDA asked the rate of 15 lakh/acre (and additional Rs 1000/acre as annual rent). This land was also acquired with a rate of Rs 1.15 lakh/acre from the farmers.

This is how WB government serves the interest of poor peasants.

On the other hand, in Singur, it continues to subsidize TATA. It decided to spend Rs 18 lakh for the dredging of Julkia canal and overall improvement of the drainage system near the proposed TATA factory in Singur. Interestingly, we have been listening from Buddha and other CPM leaders that TATA will spend money for the infrastructure development in Singur. In reality government is doing that in favour of TATA with our money. Interestingly, people of Singur demanded the dredging so many times in past years; it was turned down because of insufficient funding.

We would like to ask, from where this fund comes now?
Doesn’t it show that the sole job of the government is to lick the boots of big companies?