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Nandigram halts J'khand acquisitions

J'khand Govt has put a brake on acquisition of land for industrial use in the aftermath of the killings at Nandigram in West Bengal due to protest against land acquisition for a similar purpose.

business Updated: Mar 18, 2007 21:13 IST

The Jharkhand government has put a brake on acquisition of land for industrial use in the aftermath of the killings at Nandigram in West Bengal due to protest against land acquisition for a similar purpose.

The state government has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with more than 54 companies to set up steel plants, power plants and other industries.

"We will soon come out with a rehabilitation policy to acquire land. If we can assure the tribal people of their future, then land acquisition will not be a problem," Deputy Chief Minister Stephen Marandi told.

Asked when the rehabilitation policy will be announced, he said: "By April the policy will be made known."

At least 14 people were killed and 71 injured on Wednesday in Nandigram, about 150 kms southwest of Kolkata, as police opened fire to quell mobs and retake the area they lost control of in January after unrest over acquisition of farmland for a special economic zone (SEZ).

The investors are likely to pump in more than Rs 2.4 trillion in the state. The prominent companies that promised investments in the state are NRI steel tycoon LN Mittal's Mittal Steel, Tata Steel and Jindal Steel, besides other companies.

Land acquisition has come as big bottleneck for industrialisation in the state. To translate the MoUs in reality, the state government has to acquire more than 100,000 acres of land.

The ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has refused to accept the rehabilitation policy announced by the previous Arjun Munda government. The UPA leaders argued that the minority government of Munda had announced it in haste.

The Nandigram violence has unnerved politicians in Jharkhand, particularly the UPA leaders who had opposed acquisitions when the Munda government was signing the MoUs.

"Unless the tribals are persuaded to give up their land, no acquisition work can start. We do not want to create scenes like Nandigram or Kalinganagar in Orissa," said Marandi. In Kalinganagar, 11 tribals were killed in police firing while protesting land acquisition for a steel plant in the area in January 2006.