Millennium Post

Govt refuses to confront villagers tilling land allotted for helipad

Darjeeling: Backed by the BJP, villagers of Milanpalli started tilling the government land that had been marked to build a helipad at Gajoldoba in Jalpaiguri district.

Incidentally, villagers of the area have been protesting against the government's decision to construct a helipad on the earmarked plot.

Under the influence of the saffron party, they tried to forcefully occupy the government land and have stayed away from discussions with the district administration despite being invited for talks.

Many of the villagers alleged that they have been indulging in cultivation in the Milanpalli area for the past 40 years. They further stated that despite many of the farmers having Patta (land documents), the government is using the land for a helipad.

On Friday, Tourism minister Goutam Deb had visited the area. He had assured that anyone who has valid Patta will not have to part with their land.

"This area has 244 acres of government land. Out of this, Patta had been given to 44 acres for agriculture. Minus the Patta land, we still have around 200 acres. For the land where we have given Patta, there is no question of requisition. Out of the land the government has, we require 3.46 acres for the project. Out of this, 2.45 acres will be used for the helipad and the remaining 1 acre will be used for constructing quarters for the employees. Despite knowing all these details, some BJP leaders from outside are constantly provoking the villagers just to create unrest and disturb the peace and tranquility," alleged Deb.

On Monday, villagers along with BJP leaders arrived at the plot along with tractors and oxen and started tilling the land. When neither the district administration nor the police resisted, they celebrated dubbing it as a victory.

Nabbendu Sarkar, district secretary of the Kishan Morcha affiliated to the BJP, said: "Wherever the government will try to requisition land in North Bengal, we will put up a resistance."

On Saturday evening, the government board had been removed from the plot. Trinamool has alleged provocation by the BJP to create unrest in the region. "The government will not give into any sort of provocation. They are trying to create a Singur-like situation. Under no circumstances will we allow peace and tranquility to be disrupted. The local residents are being misled and provoked by the BJP," stated Khageshwar Rai, MLA, Rajgunj.

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