Tuesday, June 19, 2007

HC told a tale of resistance


KOLKATA, June 18: Sardar Amzad Ali who appeared for an advocate of Calcutta High Court in the Nandigram carnage case today explained to the Division Bench of the Chief Justice, Mr SS Nijjar and Mr Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose why and how the people there had organised a resistance movement against the proposed land acquisition for a chemical hub in that area.
The people of Nandigram, he said, were a socially and economically backward community. They live on small produce from agricultural land. Many of them are fishermen, and some are landless labourers, artisans, small shopkeepers and day labourers like rickshaw-pullers and hawkers. An area covering a number of villages, far from the urban centre of Nandigram, was the target for land acquisition for the purpose of setting up of a chemical hub by an international capitalist group known as Anthony Salim of Indonesia.
An extraordinary procedure had been adopted by the government for the implementation of this development project. Without making any physical land survey, the authorities made an aerial survey. This created a suspicion in the minds of the local people. This suspicion was aggravated when they came to
know that neither the State legislature nor the constituents of the Left Front nor the local elected bodies were aware of such a project though most of them belonged to the CPI-M. Lack of transparency of such a big project and the apprehension of losing their daily bread had created tension in the area. The people resolved to resist it. Even CPI-M members had jointed this resistance movement. The CPI’s MLA representing the constituency and the MP of an adjoining constituency, Mr Probodh Panda had also joined the resistance movement. None from the administration had told the people anything about the project. The chairman, Haldia Development Authority, Mr Lakshman Seth had issued a notification on 28 September, 2006 proposing to acquire more than 38,000 acres of land covering 107 mouzas. All these factors had combined to create tension and violence climaxing in the Nandigram carnage of 14 March this year. Hearing continues.