Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that the proposed power grid sub-station at Bhangor in South 24 Parganas district might be relocated if the situation warranted.
In a re-tweet, Banerjee said, “No land will be acquired if people don’t want to give away land. Proposed power grid will be relocated if required.”
The state government has decided to stall the power grid project at Bhangar in South 24 Parganas after a day-long agitation by local people that included repeated attacks on police protesting against arrest of their two leaders.
In a meeting held in Nabanna, the decision has also been taken “not to change the nature of the agricultural land” in Bhangar. Besides deciding not to change the nature of the land, the state government is also trying to find out what suddenly led to the agitation on Tuesday when the state Power minister Sobhandeb Chatterjee had announced that the work of the power grid will remain suspended for the time being. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee spoke to the state power minister Sobhandeb Chatterjee and sought all the data related to the under-construction power grid station. She directed that the police should not open fire at any circumstances after receiving the information that two persons were shot at in Bhangar. One of them succumbed to his injuries. The deceased person’s name was Mofijul Khan. He was taken to SSKM Hospital but the hospital authorities said he was already dead before reaching the hospital.
Mukul Roy went to the spot to tackle the situation. He said: “The Chief Minister has clearly stated that no work will take place against the will of the people. If anyone creates trouble after knowing this, then it has to be considered that the person didn’t want development of the state. Nothing will take place against the will of the people.”
Sources said, some people from Kolkata which includes a few students of Jadavpur University had been visiting the place for the last three months to built public opinion against setting up of the power grid by making them believe the ill effects caused due to power grid station to nature in the area. They have made residents of villages including Machibhanga, Khamarait and Padmapukur in Bhangar learn how to built resistance if the police are pressed to gain control over the area.
According to senior police officers, the “violent agitation” is the outcome of the instigation by the people from Kolkata as the agitation mainly started on Tuesday when the work of the power grid station had already been suspended. It is learnt that two persons were detained on Monday night in this connection. But they were later released. The villagers started agitating on Tuesday morning alleging atrocities of the police on two of their leaders. The agitation spread fast and police were deployed to ensure peace in the area. The villagers suddenly started pelting stones at the police. The situation turned worse when they fell trees and put up road block. Haroa-Shyamnagar and New Town-Shyamnagar Roads were closed.
People were found running with wooden logs and bamboos. They attacked the police quite a few times. In a bid to bring the situation under control, the police chased the people by raising their lathis and fired tear gas shells to disperse the mob.
Senior police officers took an attempt to restore peace in the area and held meeting with representatives from the village who demanded withdrawal of the police. Following their demand, the police were withdrawn. At around 4.30 pm the mob suddenly started damaging the vehicles of the police. One of the mini-buses of the police was set on fire and two vehicles were damaged and pushed into a pond.