Coal-rich Deucha Becomes New Hotbed of Bengal Politics over Land Acquisition Row

Deucha Pachami in West Bengal’s Birbhum district has one of the largest coal blocks in the country and a large mining project is expected to come up here. Spread over an area of 12.31 sq km, this is now the new hotbed of fierce politics in the state.

Sections of Adivasis here are protesting as they are not ready to give up their land. The state government says authorities will not forcibly remove anyone and the whole process will happen through consensus.

About 20,000 people from 4,300 households here may be displaced, detractors say.

According to sources, some Left and radical Left elements may have a presence in the area.

The Bharatiya Janata Party sees the situation as an opportunity to take on the ruling Trinamool Congress, and so Friday was the second time it held a big meeting in Deucha.

Observers say the party’s leader of opposition in the assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, is well-versed with the movement of Nandigram led by his erstwhile mentor, West Bengal chief minister and TMC chairperson Mamata Banerjee, because he was next to her at the time.

So Suvendu is playing the Nandigram card to raise the issue of land acquisition that the TMC once used to bring down the Left government.

The BJP held a march in the area on Friday, with a section of Adivasis. Party state president Sukanta Majumdar said, “Mamata is taking Adivasi land and we will fight.”

Another section of Adivasis though launched a counterprotest against the BJP. An Adivasi leader told News18 that they are against the acquisition but are not with the BJP.

Local leader and TMC minister Chandranath Sinha said, “The BJP is trying to create trouble. We know they can come anywhere but now they are trying to do conspiracy.”

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