Thursday, 02 March 2017 19:14
West Bengal: Echo of Bhangar Protest in Birbhum
ON January 30th around 100 land losers stopped the erecting of a boundary wall around a plot where the state government plans to make a Visva-Bharati-like university near Bolpur’. In Birbhum’s Shibpur, a section of land losers had demanded an industrial project on the land because that would generate jobs. They said if no industrial project was started on the 300 acres, their land should be returned. In Bolpur, the landlosers gathered near the acquired land around 10.30am with cans of kerosene and petrol and sticks. They set fire to temporary sheds for labourers constructing the boundary wall. The villagers damaged parts of the boundary wall that had been erected. Work stopped at the site after that. The mention of Bhangar at the Birbhum protest has made a section of Nabanna officials worried. “Definitely the movement against land acquisition is spreading and Bolpur is a part of the chain reaction,” said a senior official. Soon after the Singur land acquisition was scrapped, the Bengal government shifted a sweets hub in Burdwan, following a land agitation there. The government also put the PGCIL substation on hold after the Bhangar protest. “These have come as instances to landlosers fighting for their plots with fresh energy,” said a government official. The Bolpur land was acquired in 2002 from 1,000 farmers by the then Left government for setting up industry. But after Trinamul came to power, multiple times various projects were announced - an IT park, a housing project on part of the land and now the university.