A reality check by The Indian Express,with the land and land reforms department has revealed the progress of acquiring land has been really tardy. However,during her trip to the Sunderbans,Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has made a conscious effort to fast track the process of land acquisition. She has cajoled the locals to give land for building the embankment to resist cyclones that would often ravage the delta.
Even a year and half after the previous Left Front government had started the project and fixed a target of acquiring 6,000 acres to build 3,500 kms of embankment,the department has so far given the clearance for the acquisition of only 475 acres in 10 blocks of South 24 Parganas district. The farmers will be given their cheques soon,according to a senior official of the department.
She has asked the chief secretary and the land reforms commissioner who are travelling with her to expedite the process since money would not be any problem, the official said.
On Wednesday while she was travelling in the Sunderbans to have a first hand view of the area she had interactions with the villagers,where she had requested them to be part with their land for embankment. Some people are standing in the way of land acquisition and creating problems. But it is in your interest that you give land so that the project can be completed, the chief minister told the villagers.
She also said that there would be no dearth of funds for the project. The embankment,which will be semi-concrete will cost about Rs 10,000 crore,75 per cent of which will be borne by the Centre.
In May 2009,Cyclone Aila hit the coastal areas of West Bengal and in South 24 Parganas district alone more than 20 lakh people were affected. In an attempt to rebuild,the Left Front government had planned to build an embankment,which could withstand the cyclones from creating havoc in the future.