WB begins rehabilitation process
After 11 months of unabated violence, the West Bengal administration has finally begun work to rehabilitate victims in trouble-torn Nandigram by preparing a list of houses damaged.india Updated: Nov 18, 2007 11:09 IST
After 11 months of unabated violence, the West Bengal administration has finally begun work to rehabilitate victims in trouble-torn Nandigram by preparing a list of houses damaged.
"We have successfully entered Nandigram's violence-hit Sonachura, Gokulnagar, Kalicharanpur, Kendamari-Jalpai, Mohammodpur, Dudpur and Samsabad areas to take stock of the devastation. We have prepared a long list of affected villagers in all these areas," Nandigram-I block development officer (BDO) Ashok Sarkar told IANS.
Nandigram, about 150 kms from Kolkata in East Midnapore district, flared up in January this year over a proposed special economic zone (SEZ) with the ruling Communist Party of India (CPI-M) and Trinamul Congress-backed anti-land acquisition Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) fighting a bitter war. Though the SEZ proposal was later scrapped, a turf battle continued between the two groups which has claimed about 34 lives officially besides leaving hundreds injured, many women raped, thousands homeless and houses and property damaged or looted.
"We are also conducting an inquiry to get the exact figure of affected villagers and list the number of houses damaged in the violence," Sarkar said, adding that police have been asked to provide protection to the villagers to return to their homes.
The Nandigram BDO office has so far prepared a list of 167 houses affected in the violence at Gokulnagar, followed by 100 houses at Kalicharanpur, Daudpur and Samsabad areas and about 80 in Sonachura.
The West Bengal government had earlier announced that villagers would get Rs 10,000 for fully damaged houses and Rs 5,000 for partially damaged ones.
Those who need utensils and other essentials will get Rs 1,000 from the chief minister's Relief Fund.
"We hope people who have taken shelter in relief camps would start coming back to their homes now. The villagers have requested setting up four Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camps at the worst affected zones in Nandigram. We have requested East Midnapore district magistrate Anup Agarwal to facilitate the CRPF camps in Nandigram," Sarkar said.
According to sources, the East Midnapore's district administration is planning to set up four more CRPF camps at Garchakraberia High School, Maheshpur Bazar, Gokulnagar Gobinda Jew Primary School and Daudpur - four worst hit areas in the clashes and the scene of the CPI-M onslaught to regain its lost bases.
"We have requested the administration to facilitate some police camps inside our villages and they have also assured us of assistance. We really want to go back home now," BUPC member Shiekh Asraful Tulla said.
"A number of areas in Nandigram are totally dominated by dreaded criminals. We don't know how long we would have to stay here at relief camps," he said demanding immediate arrest of the anti-socials terrorising Nandigram.
An all-party meeting was also called in Nandigram on Saturday where the district administration, as a first step of confidence building measures, urged local people to return homes with their families.
A six-member team of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) also visited Nandigram on Thursday and interacted with villagers.
The NHRC team was handed over a list of 1,140 homeless alone by the BMT Shikshaniketan shelter.
In the latest round of violence, thousands of people belonging to the BUPC ended up as refugees when they had to flee to escape the wrath of the heavily armed CPI-M supporters, who launched an attack on Nandigram from the adjoining base of Khejuri to ensure return of their people to the villages.