Locals stonewalled resettlement of evictees
STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Siliguri, 15 November
In a development that is likely to further compound the stalemate over rehabilitation of the mini-secretariat evictees, north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb encountered ire from some women at Salugara in Siliguri today when he visited the area to facilitate the re-settlement.
The locals from Salugara, mostly Nepali-speaking people, yesterday stonewalled resettlement of the evictees, saying that the area earmarked for
re-settlement is housing a government school and a playground.
Though Mr Deb said the hurdles are being removed the situation on the ground is far from corroborating the minister&’s claim.
However, to mollify the evictees who are seething with anger for having been left in the lurch by the minister in the name of re-settlement, Jalpaiguri administration today distributed rice, garments and two blankets for each of the families. They are now living under the open sky with their tinned houses having been dismantled.
Jalpaiguri DM, Ms Pritha Sarkar met the evicted family members
last evening and assured them that the administration would arrange alternative plot of lands for them in
case the logjam continues.
One of the evictees, Muhammad Alam said: “We would not leave the lands near the mini-secretariat we have been living on for years until the state government ensures peaceful rehabilitation at another place.”
Another Mr Hamidul Islam said: “We have rented houses to keep our belongings. But under no circumstances, would we leave the land we have been occupying.”
A meeting was held today at the behest of Mr Deb to ease tension. Administrative sources said the panchayat from Salugara was invited. However, the CPI-M&’s panchayat pradhan from Dabgram-I gram panchayat-the area marked for rehabilitation- Ms Bina Subba said she was not informed about the meeting.
“The state government is trying to apply force in re-settling the outsiders,” she said.