Farmers in West Bengal Oppose Gitabitan Smart City Project, Demand Fair Compensation

Reported by

Mitali BiswasLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

October 6, 2019

Location of Conflict

BolpurShibpur Mauja

,

Birbhum

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Smart City

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

1000

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

121

ha

State

West Bengal

Sector

Infrastructure

In 2001, the Left Front government in West Bengal acquired nearly 300 acres at Shibpur mouza of Bolpur in Birbhum district to set up industries. The farmers were promised employment in the industrial units and were awarded compensation of Rs 48,000 for each bigha acquired (1 bigha in the state is equal to 0.33 acres). Yet, the market rate of the land, at Rs 5 lakh per bigha, was 10 times of what was given. As a result, the farmers started protestingthey uprooted the pillars erected and demanded compensation at the market rate. In 2016, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that an IT park and a university would be built on the acquired land. She estimated employment for about two lakh people. But the industries were nowhere to be seen in the months that followed. This did not go down well with the farmers who had given up their land hoping that the new industries would bring employment to the youth. On January 30, 2017, more than 100 farmers, comprising mostly sharecroppers who had not received compensation for their lands, armed with iron rods and sticks, attacked construction workers working at the site of the proposed university, which was being built on 20 acres of the acquired land. On February 3, 2017, 21 people who had lost their lands filed a case in the Calcutta High Court against the governments decision to build a smart city and university. In May 2019, Land Conflict Watch reached out to the West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited for an update on the conflict but was unable to get a response. An email had also been sent to the organisation.

Region Classification

Type of Land

Private

Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):

121

ha

Starting Year

2001

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

West Begal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (HIDCO), Trinamool Congress

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

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