For more than 90 days now, the district administration has been kept out of Nandigram. All development works of the state government in Tamluk have come to a standstill and the panchayats have stopped functioning in this belt of East Midnapore.
The situation became worse after the Nandigram massacre on March 14. Result, people of Nandigram lost faith in administration and police, who have been compelled to stay inside the police stations.
And worse still, the enquiry into the police firing on March 14 being conducted by Commissioner Balbir Ram of Burdwan Division has failed to evoke confidence among the people. The deponents argue that the enquiry into the firing should be conducted inside Nandigram and not in Tamluk or Chandipur, as it is being done.
"As things stand, Nandigram crisis has taken a political colour and unless the political parties meet at the discussion table to sort out the problems, administrative activities would suffer here. Till date, Trinamool Congress, Congress and the Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee have not attended the peace committee meetings. So it is a stalemate," said District Magistrate East Midnapore Anoop Agrawal.
The panic among the people has resulted in keeping the government officials out of Nandigram. Therefore, for the last three months, work of Swarnajayanti Gramin Rozgar Yojana, distribution of mid-day meals among the students in the primary schools, pulse-polio programme and panchayat works have all come to a standstill.
And recently, the DM received a letter from the SBI branch of Gorchakraberia saying that they are closing their unit because of the existing dangers. Even the officials and clerks of the BDO office of Nandigram are unable to attend their duties out of fear.
"It has become difficult to work in the five gram panchayats – Sonachura, Kendemarijalpai, Mohammadpur, Kalicharanpur and Bhekutia – that are being occupied by the Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee. We are desperately trying to win their confidence, give them scope for ventilating their grievances and contain the spread of panic in other areas," said Anoop Agrawal.
In a report submitted to the state government, the district administration has categorically said that it is almost difficult to predict when the siege of Nandigram would end. The police top brass have also been informed that the DIB so far has no clue about how long this state of affair in Nandigram would last.
In the report, the district officials have said that until and unless the people get over their fear psychosis, they won’t allow the government officials to get inside Nandigram.
"We believe that some coercive methods are being used by the self-styled leaders of Nandigram to keep the 71,000 people united against the administration. However we have to keep on speaking with these leaders. We have to wait and watch," believes Anoop Agrawal.
Actually, people do not believe the notification issued by the DM on March 19 saying that no land would be acquired from Nandigram to set up the industries. What’s more, another bone of contention between the people and the administration is on the question of missing persons since the day of clash on March 14.
"We have repeatedly asked them to give us the missing persons’ list. But so far they have not submitted. Then, what can we do?" asked a senior government official. So when normalcy would return in Nandigram nobody knows and until then, there will be no government work inside Nandigram.