KOLKATA: The Centre has asked the West Bengal government to sort out the power grid project issue in South 24 Parganas district's Bhangar at the earliest, state Power Minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay told the Assembly today.
Union Minister of State for Power R K Singh had called up Chattopadhyay yesterday and requested to solve the problem as the power distribution from the substation would help Bhangar and its surrounding areas, the minister said.
"The MoS requested me to look into the matter in Bhangar Powergrid project so that it can be resolved quickly," Chattopadhyay said at the Assembly.
The state power minister also said the Bhangar project faced resistance not from the locals but from outsiders who had political backing either from the Congress, CPI(M) or the Naxalites.
"People are slowly understanding that there is no real problem.
They are agreeing.
We will soon come up with the powergrid sub-station.
If the sub-station is set up, everyone will get electricity whether they belonged to TMC, CPI(M), Congress or BJP," he said.
He lauded Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's efforts in breaking the deadlock.
"She is trying her level best but she will not do anything forcefully," Chattopadhyay said adding that the government has paid a compensation of Rs 19 crore to around 300 landowners in Bhangar from whom the 13 acre-land was acquired for the project.
Earlier, Rs 4 crore was paid to the landowners as compensation as per the central government's decision, he said.
"The Chief Minister was not happy with the compensation and had set up a committee to look into it.
As per its suggestion, another Rs 15 crore was paid to them," Chattopadhyay said.
In January 2017, villagers were up in arms against setting up of the proposed sub-station by Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL).
They demanded the state government to return their land and stop construction of the power grid.
Two persons were killed and around 16 disappeared from Bhangar as fresh violence were reported from the area last December.