Kolkata: In a major success of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's "Direct Land Purchase Policy", the Bengal government has become successful in purchasing 19 acres of land in South 24-Parganas, the highest in the state so far, with the consent of 229 landowners.
Banerjee, who had fought for the rights of farmers in Singur where 997 acres of agricultural land was acquired to set up Tata's small car factory, has assured that her government will never go for "forcible acquisition of land" and the Direct Land Purchase Policy was introduced enabling the government to purchase plots directly from its owners with their consent to develop "infrastructure including roads, railways, bridges, food godowns, drinking water, flood protection works and other similar projects".
The direct purchase of 19 acres of land at Gosaba and Gadkhali in South 24-Parganas has been done only after getting the consent from 229 landowners and is a "great success of the land purchase committee headed by the District Magistrate" when there has been a lot of trouble over setting up of power grid sub-station at Bhangar in the same district.
The land has been purchased by the state government through the district authorities to ensure completion of the construction of a bridge over river Bidya connecting Gadkhali and Gasaba Bazar. A portion of the purchased land in Gadkhali while remaining part of the 19 acres is on the other side of the river at Gasaba Bazar. Construction of the bridge is a major project as it will ensure road connectivity with islands in the Sunderbans and the mainland.
The land was purchased from its owners at a rate of Rs 40 lakh per acre and has been registered in the name of the state government. The landowners have been provided with very lucrative money even though their lands were located in such a remote area.
The officials have approached the landowners and explained in detail the need of the land in that location. According to an official, the landowners have realised that construction of the bridge is essential for the development of the region that would ensure connectivity with the mainland and at the same time also ensure economic development of the area.
"The landowners were given sufficient time to take their decision after explaining the purpose behind purchasing the same. Finally, they were convinced and the consent letter was obtained from 229 landowners," the official said adding that this is for the first time when 19 acres of land has been directly purchased.
The official further explained that the Direct Land Purchase Police is effective in terms of completion of projects as it used to get delayed for non-availability of "small parcels of land". It helped in the timely completion of projects and proper utilisation of the "public funds".