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Fearing to upset squatters,govt makes NSG wait for land

The shadow of Nandigram and Singur and approaching elections have cast their spell on the Centre’s project of a dedicated NSG hub in Kolkata,as the state government has not been able to provide the land required for the project.

Written by Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay | Kolkata | Published: March 28, 2009 4:47:46 am

The shadow of Nandigram and Singur and approaching elections have cast their spell on the Centre’s project of a dedicated NSG hub in Kolkata,as the state government has not been able to provide the land required for the project.

The NSG has expressed its unhappiness over the development.

“The land should have been cleared much earlier. We hope we will get the land as early as possible,” an official of the elite commando unit told The Indian Express from Delhi over the phone.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had earlier declared that the Centre was keen on inaugurating the hub by May.

After the terror attack in Mumbai,the Centre had decided to set up NSG hubs in four metro cities — Mumbai,Kolkata,Chennai and Hyderabad. After inspecting a few sites in Bengal shown to them by the state government,the NSG had zeroed in on a 25-acre area of land at Kaikhali near Dum Dum airport.

A large part of the land had illegal settlers and the state government was given the task of clearing the area.

The land belonged to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the state government had agreed to provide the land to the NSG in a meeting earlier this month in Delhi that was attended by state Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen and the officials of AAI and the NSG.

However,last week when PR Sharma,Inspector General,NSG,came to Kolkata,he was surprised to learn that the land was not available and the NSG would have to wait till the elections were over. “The AAI is offering the land. But the state government does not want to evict anybody now because the elections are approaching and the government does not want to antagonise anybody,” a senior state government official told The Indian Express. The NSG initially was keen on setting up two units —- a big one with training facility and the other for stationing a small contingent ready to be dispatched to any trouble spot.

On January 19,the NSG team first visited West Bengal and they were taken to Panagarh where a 1000-acre land belonging to the Army was shown to them. Next month former NSG Director General J K Dutt visited the city and was shown a 1000-acre defence land at Barrackpore and 25-acre of land at Kaikhali. The NSG,however,put its plan for setting up the bigger unit on hold and expressed the desire to set up the small unit as early as possible. “We are trying our best to expedite the process of handing over of the land to the NSG,” Sen told The Indian Express.

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