Egra (WB) :In a precedent-setting gesture, villagers of Keya not very far from Nandigram, which was in news for violent anti-land acquisition agitation, gave away their land to help set up an Industrial Training Institute.
The sanctioned project for the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) at Keya in East Midnapore district was on the verge of being cancelled for want of a proper road linking to the site.
Out of the 11 acres required for the ITI, seven acres were made available to build the institute but four more acres were needed for a connecting road and it meant taking over of cultivable land, ponds, gardens and residential houses belonging to very poor people.
The administration could not think of acquiring the land keeping in mind the post-Nandigram sensitivity.
Then setting a rare precedent, 30 villagers, who are all very poor to the point of being destitutes, came forward and submitted a memorandum to the block administration saying they wish to give away their land, whose combined market value is not less than Rs50 lakh, for the ITI to become a reality.
Not only did the villagers part with their land, but they also volunteered to dig earth and clear bushes to make way for the ITI.
East Midnapore district magistrate D Choten Lama confirming the handover of the land said initially Rs1.5 crore had been sanctioned by the government out of a total estimated expenditure of Rs10 crore.
Appreciating the gesture, the administration has decided to give the villagers alternative plots on the side of the main road at Egra. A marketing complex would also be built to provide them means for living by allotting shops.
One of the villagers who gave up his land said that all of them wanted their children to get technical training in their own village.