The CRPF has been forced to cancel plans for setting up a permanent base in Maoist-affected West Midnapore because the Union home ministry has found the price of the land prohibitive.
The state government is asking for Rs 58 crore for a 47-acre (one acre = 43,560 square feet) plot. It turned down all requests for concession on this.
“It is strange that the West Bengal government is asking for Rs 58 crore for a 47-acre plot. But in Beltola (42-acre proposed site for another battalion), in the same district, they are asking for R1.8 crore. We requested them to think over the high price but they did not,” said a home ministry official from New Delhi.
This has scuttled the CRPF’s plans of setting up the deputy inspector general’s office and battalion headquarters near Lalgarh, 160 km west of Kolkata.
“We need to set up permanent bases and offices in West Bengal since the operations against the Maoists will go on for years. It is very sad that we could not get the land because of the price issue. There are other projects which are delayed and we are in talks with the state government,” said Vivek Sahay, inspector general, CRPF.
West Midnapore district magistrate Surendra Gupta said: “We asked for a fair price for the land. We have also proposed a few other plots. It is for them to accept it or reject it. Land cannot be given free.”
In early 2010, the CRPF asked for land through its parent, the Union home ministry, to set up permanent bases for its battalions in the state, where it is combating Maoists.