Farmers Demand Return of Land Acquired for Rajarhat Township in West Bengal

Reported by

Mitali Biswas

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

September 20, 2016

September 20, 2016

Updated on

September 20, 2016

Location of Conflict

Rajarhat

North 24 Parganas

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Township/Real Estate

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

125000

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

3035

ha

Starting Year

1999

State

West Bengal

Sector

Infrastructure

Before Rajarhat, a municipality in Greater Kolkata, was developed into a satellite township, it was one of the most fertile areas in West Bengal. Irrigated by Keshtopur, Bagjola and three other canals adjacent to them, Rajarhat was a wetland with a thriving farming system, where crops were grown thrice a year, and the farmers were sustainably equipped to farm. Different types of Ravi and Kharif crops, and seasonal vegetables, fruits and flowers too were grown by the farmers. In April-May 1999, the Left Front government started acquiring close to 7,500 acres of land by invoking the colonial Land Acquisition Act, 1894, to set up the Rajarhat township. It was envisioned as a hotbed for corporate services and sprawling residential complexes. But in what has been described as a case of illegal "land-grabbing", farmers allege that the authorities went door to door forcing the people to accept the land acquisition notice. Unwilling to give away their land, they were subjected to repeated intimidation and brutality -- local goons allegedly attacked farmers and forced them to permit the acquisition. Many also claimed to have received the notice of land acquisition after their lands were taken away. Besides the land grab, another contentious issue is the meagre compensation offered for the acquired land. In Patharghata village, most of the land was acquired for INR 3 lakhs as opposed to its actual market value of INR 6 lakhs, according to a media report. In fact, a majority of the farmers refused the compensation offered. In 2000, a case was filed on behalf of the Rajarhat Krishijomi Raksha Committee (Save Rajarhat Farmers Committee) -- a collective of the affected farmers challenging the land acquisition and compensation process. In 2012, the fourth phase of the Rajarhat township commenced but was immediately called off after local protests against the land acquisition. The entire township was expected to be completed by 2017. In 2018, around 1,500 farmers visited the West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited office to demand back their land. Many of these farmers who demanded the return of their land had not taken compensation checks earlier. Their demand came after the Supreme Court ruling on the Singur case, where it held that land should be returned to the original landowners as the acquisition process was illegal and void. On May 22, 2019, LCW approached the West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited for an update on the conflict via email and a follow-up call but did not receive any response. LCW spoke to local sources in January 2021 who said that the township is being constructed and plots are yet to be allocated. Currently, there is no agitation on the ground.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for more compensation than promised

Complaint against procedural violations

Refusal to give up land for the project

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Urban

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Land Acquisition Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

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Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

No items found.

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Calcutta High Court

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Physical attack

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Farmers whose lands were taken claimed to be subjected to repeated intimidation and brutality. Local goons allegedly attacked farmers and forced them to permit the land acquisition.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Advocacy (for inclusion in courts)

Development of a network or collective

Protests/marches

Refusal of compensation

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Trinamool Congress, West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

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Reviewed By

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