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

Reported by

Mitali BiswasLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

November 4, 2019

Location of Conflict

Rajarhat

,

North 24 Parganas

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Township/Real Estate

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

216000

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

7000

ha

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. In AprilMay 1999, the Left Front government started acquiring close to 7,000 hectares of land by invoking the colonial Land Acquisition Act 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 landgrabbing, 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 brutalitylocal goons allegedly attacked farmers and forced their hand to permit the acquisition. Many have 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 report in Business Standard. In fact, a majority of the farmers refused the compensation offered. In 2000, a case was filed on behalf of the Rajarhat Krishijomi Raksha Committeea collective of the affected farmerschallenging the land acquisition and compensation process. They continue to demand their land back. On May 22, 2019, Land Conflict Watch approached the West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited for an update on the conflict via an email and a followup phone call but was unable to receive a response.

Region Classification

Urban

Type of Land

Private

Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):

7000

ha

Starting Year

1999

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

Trinamool Congress, West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

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