Mamata land gift deferred

Durgapur, Jan. 9: The Burdwan administration has decided to defer the distribution of two land parcels in Raniganj among beneficiaries of a state housing scheme as the area is subsidence-prone.

The Telegraph had reported yesterday that the cave-in-prone 46 acres in Bansra mouza were among land identified for distribution by chief minister Mamata Banerjee among 3,800 poor families tomorrow. The 46 acres were supposed to be distributed among 34 families.

A survey team of officials of the district administration, land and land reforms department and Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL), which claims the land belongs to it, today visited Bansra, carried out an inspection and submitted a report to district magistrate Onkar Singh Meena.

"We will not allot the land to the beneficiaries tomorrow as there is some controversy over ownership and stability. We will settle the matter with ECL soon. However, the other programmes will remain unchanged. Pattas (land deeds) will be given to the remaining beneficiaries of the Nijo Griho Nijo Bhumi scheme," a senior district official said.

On Tuesday, members of some of the 34 families led by local Trinamul leaders had demonstrated outside the office of the block-level land reforms officer demanding that they be given plots elsewhere.

The families said today that they were happy.

"It would have been good had we got the land. But what would we have done with land that has been declared unsafe for living," a villager said.

"The administration has promised to give us land somewhere else soon," he added.

Local Trinamul leader and retired ECL employee Madhusudan Ghosh, too, welcomed the decision. "The lives of 34 families have been saved," he said.

The manager of the ECL-owned Bansra Colliery, Snehangshu Mukherjee, said the administration had been told that the land identified in Bansra belonged to ECL.

Mukherjee, who was part of the survey team today, said: "There was a coal mine (on the 46 acres) during the pre-nationalisation era. Moreover, plot number 365 (one of the two subsidence-prone parcels) is highly unstable."

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