Monday, July 19, 2010

PCPA land redistribution on in Lalgarh

Rajib Chatterjee

KOLKATA, 18 JULY: In a desperate bid to keep its support base intact, the Maoists-backed Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) has started taking possession of land owned by CPI-M leaders in Lalgarh and distributing them among the landless tribals.

The PCPA activists are also “leasing out” ponds in villages to the people to help them earn their livelihood through pisciculture. A large number of ‘co-operatives’ have been set up in areas. 

A PCPA leader, Mr Manoj Mahato, said about 150 bighas of land, owned by CPI-M leaders, have so far been distributed among the local people in the last two months.

When asked for comment on the matter, state home secretary, Mr Samar Ghosh said: “These activities may have been taking place in an isolated manner”.

"Besides leasing out ponds to poor tribals, we are also digging up more water bodies at several villages in Junglemahal to encourage pisciculture," Mr Mahato added.


According to the PCPA leader, a water body covering over 12 bighas of land at Kalsidanga village near Jhargram has recently been “leased out” to a cooperative formed by the villagers. “Pisciculture is now taking place in the pond that was under the possession of a CPI-M leader. The CPI-M man, who had captured the pond illegally, deserted the village because of mass anger against him. We have done nothing wrong,” Mr Mahato told The Statesman.

 Similarly, several ponds were “freed from the clutches of CPI-M leaders” at Rameswarpur, Bandarboni, Modhupur, Baisadi villages in Jhargram before being leased out to cooperatives.

 “All the ponds were dug up on vested land and later captured by local CPI-M leaders. There was no initiative from the government to free the vested land from the possession of the CPI-M leaders. But during the Lalgarh movement, the people mustered courage and took control of the water bodies. We have extended our support to the people,” the PCPA leader said.

Source: The Statesman 19 July 2010

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