Trinamool blocks roads across West Bengal for an hour

August 29th, 2008 - 10:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 29 (IANS) Traffic came to a standstill across West Bengal for an hour Friday following a road blockade called by the Trinamool Congress-led opposition to protest the “illegal” acquisition of farmland in Singur for the Tata Motors’ Nano car plant.In the city, opposition activists put up blockades at major junctions like Howrah Bridge, Park Circus, Rajabazar, BBD Bag, Maniktala, Gariahat, Dhakuria, Golpark, Maniktala, disrupting traffic. Home-bound school children and college students as well as people returning from offices faced hardship due to long traffic snarls.

A few schools called it a day before the scheduled time to avoid the congestion.

“No untoward incident was reported during the road blockade. Over 50,000 supporters gathered at various junctions in the city and traffic movement came to a temporary halt,” a senior official of Kolkata police traffic control told IANS.

“The gathering was highest at Hazra crossing in south Kolkata, which is dominated by Trinamool Congress. Over 2,000 people blocked roads, stopping vehicles and took out processions with party banners,” he added.

The Trinamool Congress-led indefinite agitation at Singur to press for return of 400 acres acquired from “unwilling farmers” for the Tata Motors’ project, has created a major traffic snarl-up on National Highway 2 (Delhi Road) and Durgapur Expressway since Sunday.

The protesters are demanding the return of 400 acres, which they allege was forcibly taken from “unwilling farmers” to build ancillary industries adjacent to the Tata Motors’ plant.

A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Calcutta High Court Thursday seeking immediate clearing of the traffic gridlock on the Durgapur Expressway and NH-2.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice S.S. Nijjar and Justice Dipankar Dutta declined to pass any order before hearing the matter. They have directed the West Bengal government and the petitioner to file affidavits stating their positions on the matter.

The state government has to file its affidavit within two weeks and the petitioner in another week. The matter would be heard by the division bench after three weeks.

Hearing a separate petition moved by Calcutta Goods Transport Association, the court asked the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to ensure smooth passage of vehicles through Durgapur Expressway without any further hindrance.

Justice Nadira Patheyra advised the highway authority to take the state government’s assistance to clear the Durgapur Expressway from any obstruction.

The matter would come up for hearing after four weeks.

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