West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Tuesday that she won't allow the implementation of the land ordinance the union cabinet approved on Monday.
She was addressing her party supporters at Kharagpur in West Midnapore about 120 km from Kolkata, barely 24 houors after the union cabinet gave its nod to the proposed ordinance to pave the way for investments stuck in inflexible land laws.
Taking the fight to the rival camp, the Bengal chief minister announced that Trinamool Congress supporters will burn the symbolic ‘copies’ of ‘black ordinance’ at every corner of the state on Wednesday.
"I am putting forward a challenge -- we will not allow any such acquisition in the state. One can't just snatch land like that," said Mamata Banerjee in the party workers meeting.
"Farmers may sell their land. But none can take it away by force. We are just not going to obey this black ordinance. You may throw us behind the bars for it, but we are not complying," she added.
With Tuesday's announcement, Mamata Banerjee again paved the way for another round of bitter fight with the Narendra Modi administration with which she has a running battle on quite a few issues including the CBI probe in the Saradha scam and NIA investigation in Burdwan blasts.
A policy of no acquisition of land for any industrial/infrastructure purpose has been the cornerstone of Mamata Banerjee's policy in West Bengal, something for which she has been criticised and labelled as "industry unfriendly."
On Monday the union cabinet made it easier to acquire land in five key sectors including security and defence, infrastructure, power and affordable housing.
According to the proposed ordinance, acquisition of land for the above-mentioned purposes won't need consent of the 80% of the landowners, union finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday in Delhi.
For the past few years, investors were clamouring for the dilution of restrictive rules as laid down by the Congress-led UPA II government.
"I hung my head in shame after they approved the ordinance yesterday. They are trying to take away land by force. They are also using CBI and ED to inject fear in us," remarked the chief minister.
She also alleged that the ordinance is designed to benefit only a handful. “They (the centre) are tomtoming the PPP model. But what does it mean? Will the land owners get proper compensation? Through the ordinance they are trying to snatch any land of their choice without any consent from the land owner. We will not allow that. If they want to do so, then they have to run a bulldozer on us and have to go over my dead body,” she thundered at the meeting.
Trinamool Congress leaders made it clear that the party will oppose land acquisition from the farmers. But, if acquisition of land is necessary then it should be done through discussion after giving sufficient compensation, the leaders hinted.
Before Mamata Banerjee challenged the centre, two MPs from the party Suvendu Adhikari and Avishek Banerjee also spoke on the issue from the podium.
“None has forgotten the Singur and Nandigram movement. We would again start similar movements if necessary as the ordinance will directly impact the farmers,” said Suvendu Ahikari.