January 16, 2009 9:12:33 am
Residents of a village not very far from Nandigram,which acquired notoriety for violent anti-land acquisition agitation,in a precedent-setting gesture gave away their land to help set up an Industrial Training Institute which faced a land hurdle.
The sanctioned project at Keya village in East Midnapore district was on the verge of being cancelled for want of a proper road linking the site.
Out of the 11 acres required for the ITI,seven acres were available and the remaining four acres were needed to build the road which meant taking over of cultivable land,ponds,gardens and residential houses belonging to very poor people.
The land could have been purchased outright,but the state’s Finance Department came in the way. Neither could the administration think of acquiring the land keeping in mind the post-Nandigram sensitivity.
Then setting a rare precedent,the 30 villagers,who are all very poor to the point of being destitutes,came forward and submitted a memorandum to the block administration wishing to give away their land whose combined market value is not less than Rs 50 lakh.
Not only did they part with their land,the villagers also volunteered to dig earth and clear bushes to make the ITI a reality.
East Midnapore district magistrate D Choten Lama confirming the handover of the land said that initially Rs 1.5 crore had been sanctioned by the government out of a total estimated expenditure of Rs 10 crore.
Appreciating the gesture,the administration has decided to give them alternative plots on the side of the main road at Egra. A marketing complex would also be built to provide them with a means for living by allotting shops.
One of the villagers who gave up his land told this reporter that all of them wanted their children to get technical training in their own village.
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