West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday appointed a two-member expert committee to formulate a new land policy of the state government. Reiterating her known stand against forcible acquisition of land, Ms Banerjee said: “There is much confusion over the issue of land acquisition. Our government has decided to have a new land policy which will help us prepare a land bank.” Significantly, the earlier Left Front government which had taken the initiative to create a land bank in 2008, got accumulated land of about 8,100 acres in Purulia, Burdwan and North 24 Parganas for industrial use.
After considering and examining the interests of all stakeholders related to land, this committee will recommend to the state government about the feature of the land policy which will be drafted later. Formation of this committee is the first step towards creating a land policy which will have no provision for forcible land acquisition as repeatedly promised by Ms Mamata Banerjee.
“We have formed a two-member committee comprising former land secretary Debabrata Bandopadhyay and renowned barrister of Calcutta high court Soumendranath Basu. This committee will give its recommendations as soon as possible to the government after taking into consideration interests of all people who are involve with the land,” the chief minister added.
This committee will prepare a list of unutilised land of different state government departments as well as total quantum of land in the closed factories.
On the basis of the report of the committee, the state government will prepare a land map as well as create a land bank for future industries.
“While preparing its report, the committee will take the interests of bargadars, landless labours and all other stakeholders into consideration. The state government will not opt for any forcible land acquisition. It will reach a consensus with all stakeholders before procuring land,” Ms Banerjee added.
The committee has been formed after the Centre indicated that in the proposed new land bill every state government would have a say of its jurisdiction in land acquisition in the state concerned. Ms Banerjee has already made it clear that her government would not acquire land for industry. “If land is required for any Union or state government project, the state government will purchase the land directly at the market price and one member of every landloser family will get job,” state commerce and industry minister Partha Chatterjee said. Asian Age