Kolkata, January 3 :

With the Singur fire still smouldering, violence erupted again over a project for Indonesia’s Salim Group when police had to fire several rounds Wednesday to quell angry villagers at Nandigram in West Bengal protesting acquisition of their farmlands.

Initial reports pouring in from the East Midnapore district said an angry mob also set on fire a police jeep in retaliation at Sonachura as violence escalated over the acquisition of land at Nandigram, about 150 km from here near the Haldia port town, for a chemical hub to be set up by Salim in collaboration with the government.

Reports said several people were injured in the firing even as people in large number were gathering in the area triggering fears of more violence. Heavy deployment of policemen was being made to deal with the situation as violence was spreading to other villages.

Hardly had the dust settled over the Singur land acquisition in Hooghly district, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya had a fresh troubled spot to cope with as tension gripped the area over land acquisition. In East Midnapore the state government reportedly eyed over 22,000 acres of land for industrial projects.

Recently social activist Medha Patkar visited the area to support the villagers resisting the acquisition.

On July 31, the West Bengal government signed an agreement with the Salim Group of Indonesia to implement various developmental projects, including the setting up of a mega chemical industrial estate, including a chemical special economic zone (SEZ) at Nandigram, spread across 10,000 acres in a 50:50 joint venture.

Construction of a four-lane road bridge over the Haldi River, from Haldia to Nandigram, has also been planned. The proposed bridge would provide a link between Haldia and the proposed chemicals SEZ in Nandigram.