Sunday, November 29, 2009


Not for creating its own infrastructure. The Railway Ministry under the instruction of Mamata Banerjee has decided to hand over large quantum of vacant railway lands including prime agricultural lands to big business houses in Kolkata, Siliguri and other big cities of the country. The Railways have informed that it has already earmarked 3,744 acres of land for the purpose in prime areas of Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Amritsar, Ajamgarh, Guwhati, Kanpur, Kolkata and other cities. Renowned promoters and builders would be invited to construct shopping malls, hotels and business centres in these lands solely owned by the railways by virtue of Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

It is pertinent to point out that the Indian Railways have acquired agricultural lands in different parts of the country with the help of the respective state governments for constructing infrastructure of the railways. As for example, in Howrah it had acquired 700 acres of land in 1984-85 with the help of the state government for constructing a “Goods Terminal”.

Now, the railways plan to lease out 3,744 acres of acquired land to private parties. It expects to earn Rs. 2,700 crores on this account. The said 3,744 acres of land has already been handed over to Railway Land Development Authority.

In reply to question during last railway budget, Mamata Banerjee had stated on the floor of the parliament that her ministry had planned to use the vacant railway lands for commercial purposes with private entrepreneurs on PPP Model (Public-Private Partnership Model). She informed that thousands of acres of railway land have already been earmarked for the same.

It would not be out of place to mention that in Singur she did not allow the Nano Car Factory to come up on the plea of construction of factory, Shopping Malls, Beauty Parlours etc. over agricultural lands. But after becoming Railway Minister she is hell bent on handing over prime agricultural lands owned by the railways to private parties for the same purpose.

It is relevant to point out that the entire land of 3,744 acres including agricultural land was acquired for the development of railway infrastructure in terms of Land Acquisition Act, 1894. This land cannot be used for any purpose other than the purpose for which it was originally acquired as per law.

But in gross violation of the provisions of the relevant act, Mamata Banerjee has been promoting big business houses with some ulterior motive and hidden agenda.

The sycophant spineless intellectuals, who were so vocal during Singur and Nandigram episodes in the name of safeguarding agricultural land, are shamelessly silent on misuse of acquired agricultural lands of the railways for promoting private business. The reason is simple. Most of them remain purchased in this or that way to serve the interests of big business houses and finance capital. The duplicity of these perverted intellectuals, therefore, stand exposed to the people from all walks of life.

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