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Stir over land acquisition in north Bengal

Opposition Congress, Trinamool Congress and a ruling coalition partner, RSP, have joined hands to oppose a satellite township project near in Siliguri.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2008 15:45 IST

Opposition Congress, Trinamool Congress and a ruling coalition partner, RSP, have joined hands to oppose a satellite township project near in Siliguri.

Following the opposition, West Bengal Urban Development minister Asok Bhattacharya has invited WBPCC Secretary Deepa Das Munshi for talks on September 19 on the issue to prevent any flare ups as in Singur.

Dasmunsi is spearheading the anti-land acquisition movement for the township on behalf of the Darjeeling district (plain) Congress and 'Bhumi Raksha Committee' (BRC).

Dasmunsi along with supporters has staged a dharna since September 12 demanding the project be scrapped, causing traffic snarl on Noukaghat- Medical College Road.

Claiming that the compensation package for land losers was one of the best in the country, the minister expressed surprise over the flurry of protests against the project.

The township, to be built over an area of 302 acres, would protect the interest of land losers and an absolute need for the fast growing commercial hub, Bhattacharya, who also heads Siliguri-Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA) said.

Alleging that the minister was indulging in double standard by extending invitation for talks on the one hand and initiating a party rally close to the Dharna manch, BRC Secretary Jugolkishore Sarkar said interest of land owners must be protected.

The CPI(M) had staged a rally close to the dharna site on Tuesday.

SJDA sources have earlier claimed that the 302-acre plot was a non-fertile one, and the proposed township would house middle- and lower-middle class people.

While the main township is supposed to come up on 232 acres of land, the rest 70 acres is for health, educational, sports and others amenities.