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'Land acquisition only after talks'

india Updated: Jan 07, 2007 22:42 IST
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In a bid to defuse tension in Nandigram, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya on Sunday said that land for an industrial project there would be acquired only after discussions with the local population.

"I am saying again as before that there was no notice served for land acquisition. We want to hold discussions with the people of the region before any land acquisition move," Bhattacharya said.

Nandigram, an area about 150 kilometre from Kolkata, is in the grip of violence since Wednesday when the word spread that a land acquisition notification had come out. The clashes between farmers and activists of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) have claimed at least three lives.

Bhattacharya clarified: "How much land would be acquired and in what manner would be discussed before with the local people after a series of meetings. In Singur, we have not touched any residential house.

"Unfortunately, things started happening based on rumours," he said.

"We are trying to keep the situation normal. We have asked police for restraint and move only after the situation returns to normal.

"The district magistrate has been asked to hold an all-party meeting and we hope that things would improve after the meeting," he said.

The chief minister also pointed fingers at Jamiat-e-Ulema-i-Hind, a religious organisation in the area, for communalising the situation.

The state administration plans to acquire land in the area for a special economic zone (SEZ), including a chemical hub in collaboration with Indonesia's Salim group.

Bhattacharya said the proposed chemical hub would be a modern project like nowhere in India and talks were on with companies in Japan and the US for it.

"The Petroleum Ministry in New Delhi and the prime minister are also involved," he said.

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