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Protests over Tata unit in West Bengal disrupt traffic

September 26, 2006 15:29 IST

Road and rail traffic in Kolkata and surrounding areas was thrown out of gear on Tuesday morning following an hour-long blockade by the Trinamool Congress to protest the 'forcible' acquisition of agricultural land for the Tata Motors car project at Singur.

Trinamool Congress supporters also blocked Mayo Road in front of Gandhi statue where party chief Mamata Banerjee was sitting on an indefinite fast.

Banerjee went on a strike here from this morning after being forcibly removed from the Singur BDO's office in Hooghly district where she had staged a sit in last night demanding the immediate stoppage of paying compensation cheques to land losers.

She was later escorted back to Kolkata by the police. Union minister and senior Congress leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi condemned the police action saying, "the manner in which the government tried to curb the movement of farmers is shameful. The manhandling of Mamata is not only an insult to her, but also to the women of Bengal," he told newsmen after meeting the TC chief at the Gandhi's statue.

The TC supporters who put up the blockade at Mayo Road were protesting the handcuffing of some of their party colleagues admitted to the Chinsurah hospital in Hooghly district following the police action at Singur.

According to the TC supremo, who has called a 'Bangla Bandh' on October 9, 43 TC supporters were beaten up by the police and handcuffed after being admitted to the Chinsurah hospital. Altogether 500 TC supporters were injured in the scuffle, she claimed.

Police said road traffic in the city's Shyambazar, Hazra, Golpark and Khidirpur intersections was disrupted after TC supporters disrupted traffic at intersections.

Reports of blockades were also received from Durgapur and Asansol in Burdwan district.

Eastern Railway sources said the protestors blocked tracks at Seoraphuli, Tarakeswar, Chinsurah, Nahiati, Sodepur and Taldi, affecting movement of local trains. Movement of long distance trains to and from the metropolis, however, remained unaffected.

Extending support to the TC's proposed bandh on October nine, Dasmunshi said, "I have ascertained that the Tatas never insisted on land at Singur. Raw material for the project is available at Purulia, Bankura and Birbhum, but the government did not think of any alternative land."

Charging the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government with trying to foment trouble before Durga puja by using force, Dasmunshi said it should have convened an all-party meeting to explain its position.

"They should have waited for consensus. More so, since Left Front partners RSP and Forward Bloc are opposed to acquisition of agricultural land for the project," he said.

Insisting that he was not against the Tata project or any other, Dasmunshi said that projects should not come up on agricultural land.

"The way that the government and the CPI(M) are trying to push through the land acquisition, it appears that they are trying to hide something."

Senior TC MLAs Parthan Chatterjee and Subrata Bakshi have lodged FIRs at the Kalighat and Bhowanipore police stations respectively for the alleged police attack on partymen at Singur.

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