NHAI asks Trinamool leaders to clear traffic gridlockAugust 30th, 2008 - 10:03 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Aug 30 (IANS) National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials Saturday met Trinamool Congress leaders to clear a choked key highway in West Bengal’s Singur, the scene of an indefinite siege by farmers demanding the return of a portion of land acquired for Tata Motors’ Nano project.An NHAI team visited the site where Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee is on an indefinite sit-in to force the state government to give back 400 acres of farmland acquired for the small car factory from “unwilling farmers”.
“The NHAI officials have given us a letter saying the makeshift podiums of the Trinamool Congress and other political parties along the Durgapur Expressway are illegal constructions,” Hooghly district police superintendent Rajiv Mishra told reporters Saturday evening.
He said the district police were trying to cooperate with the NHAI officials to clear the traffic gridlock on the Durgapur Expressway.
“We have received the complaint from the highway authority and are trying to solve the problem,” Mishra said.
The 76-km long Durgapur Expressway - part of the National Highway 2 connecting Kolkata and Delhi - got choked as the Trinamool Congress launched agitation Aug 24. Hundreds of trucks remained stranded for days on the expressway.
A public interest litigation (PIL) was also filed in the Calcutta High Court Thursday seeking immediate clearing of the traffic gridlock.
A division bench of Chief Justice S.S. Nijjar and Justice Dipankar Dutta declined to pass any order before hearing the matter. They have directed the state government and the petitioner to file affidavits stating their positions on the matter.
Hearing a separate petition moved by the Calcutta Goods Transport Association, the court asked the NHAI to ensure smooth passage of vehicles through the Expressway.
The protest in Singur has been being spearheaded by the Trinamool-backed Krishijami Jiban Jibika Raksha Committee, which opposes the takeover of land from “unwilling farmers” for the Tata project.
The protesters have set up 21 camps around the factory site from Aug 24.
The 400 acres in question are for ancillary industries adjacent to the main plant.
A total of 997.11 acres were acquired for Tata Motors’ Nano car project, of which 691.66 acres were given away by farmers willingly for a financial package.