The West Bengal government has dropped all embarrassing and politically-volatile data on the critical land situation in the state. And doing away with the data is the Land Use Board under Industries Minister Nirupam Sen.
This explosive charge, levelled by Principal Secretary in the Land and Land Reforms (L&LR) department, Sukumar Das, comes at a time when the Opposition and a section within the ruling Left Front, even Land Reforms Minister Rezzak Molla, are expressing concern over the manner in which the government is acquiring agricultural land to build infrastructure and industries.
According to Das, though his department described Bengal as a “land critical state” and made suggestions on optimal use of land for industrialisation, the Board chose to paint a rosy picture in its report, to be placed before the assembly on Wednesday. Sadly, he said, the status report on the land situation will be published in the name of the L&LR Department.
Also, despite Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee promising at a recent Left Front meeting that a detailed land use map will be prepared, the report will contain no such map though the Land and Land Reforms Department prepared 180 pages of maps. Peeved L&LR officials said crucial data was deliberately dropped by the Board in its report to justify the government’s acquisition of multi-crop land in various parts of the state, particularly Singur.
Reacting to the allegations, the CPI and other Left Front constituents said they would comment after they had gone through the document. They claimed they were yet to get hold of the documents.
In a recent note to the Left Front, the RSP had demanded that the government prepare a land map that specifically mentions areas of fallow, mono and multi crop plots and also those used for fisheries. The CPI too had raised a similar demand, to which the chief minister had agreed.