Singur farmers protest, demand industries on their land

Kolkata, May 24 (IANS) A section of farmers in West Bengal’s Singur, which had witnessed a violent anti-land acquisition stir over a decade back, staged a protest demonstration on Friday demanding industries be set up on their land which still lies barren.

The farmers’ protest took place a day after the BJP won the Hooghly Lok Sabha seat and also took a sizeable lead from the rural hamlet.

BJP’s Locket Chatterjee defeated outgoing Trinamool MP Ratna De Nag by a margin of over 73,362 votes, that included a10,000 plus lead in Singur Assembly segment.

Singur was on the boil between 2006 and 2008 after the then Left Front government acquired 997.11 acres of land for setting up Tata Motor’s small car factory.

Demanding return of 400 acres to farmers from whom land was allegedly taken against their will, the then opposition Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee spear-headed a violent and sustained movement that ultimately forced the automobile giant Tata Motors to shift its small car plant to Sanand in Gujarat.

“Farmers who had given land for setting up of the small car factory are demanding industries. Even a section of farmers, who fought against the land acquisition for the small car factory, are also demanding industries. I will talk to them,” Chatterjee said.

During the poll campaign, peasants in Singur had demanded there should be “no more politics” with their land and exhorted the government to “make it cultivable or use it for productive purpose”.

The Singur movement had raised Trinamool’s popularity graph, and it went from strength to strength to oust the 34-year-old Left Front government in the 2011 Assembly polls.

Soon after coming to power in the state, the Mamata Banerjee government promulgated the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act and acquired the land to keep its promise of returning 400 acres to the “unwilling farmers”. However, the Tatas took the legal route.

After a prolonged legal battle and following the apex court order to return land to farmers, the state handed it back.

Chatterjee urged Tatas to return to the rural hamlet.



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