Singur: Mamata returns land to farmers as promised, offers new deal to Tata

first_imgThe Singur saga has come full circle as Mamata Banerjee initiated the process of returning the land to the owners, who had been protesting against the forcible acquisition of land by Tata Motors for their car factory since 2006.Eight years ago on Septembar 25, 2008, Banerjee, the then leader of the Opposition party, was stopped at the BDO office by the Left Front government from entering Singur. The police then switched off the power in the BDO office and resorted to lathicharge after that.Banerjee returned and sat on a 16-day dharna on the national highway.PROMISE FULFILLED Eight years since then, the political equation in Bengal has changed. Singur and Banerjee’s Save Farmland Movement helped her defeat the Left for two consecutive terms.Also read: Mamata Banerjee redeems promise, returns 9,117 land records to Singur farmersNow with the Supreme Court verdict passing a ruling against the 1894 Land Acquisition Act and quashing the acquisition of land for Tata Motors, the TMC supremo could keep her commitment to the Singur people.After coming to power, one of Banerjee’s principal tasks was to return the land to the Singur land owners, as was her promise in the election manifesto. However, because of the legal battle the chief minister could not keep her word. But six years down the line in her second term, she is about to complete her unfinished task.GRAND WELCOME Singur was all decked up to give the chief minister a grand welcome. Ten to fifteen kms away from Singur, Banerjee’s posters, hoarding and banners could be seen hanging on every tree along the National Highway as vehicles flashing Trinamool Congress flags zoomed past carrying enthusiastic supporters. Traffic was diverted for over 10 kms on the NH2 as only VIP SUVs made a beeline for the main podium of Singur Divas, where Banerjee was addressing the victory rally.advertisementAlso read: Bengal’s Kalyani University bends rules to admit transgender student on humanitarian grounds The main two-tier podium stretched for two kilometers, entirely taking up major portion of the highway. The asphalt road was covered with green carpets of Chinese grass to give a feel of the fertile agricultural land of Singur. A makeshift structure was set up bearing paddy saplings, which was symptomatic of the 997 acres of land yielding multi-crop, prior to Tata Motors taking over the land.People from different parts of the state were brought to witness a historical moment when Banerjee handed over the cheques. Nearly 9000 land deeds were handed over to the land owners. Social activist Medha Patkar, who was also part of the Singur agitation, was present on the occasion.VICTORY OF PEOPLE AND EARTH The chief minister while speaking on the occasion said that she was happy to keep her words. She added that it was a victory of people and of earth.An emotional Banerjee said that the Left Front administration had ordered its police to beat her so badly that she could have died that day, when she was stopped at the BDO office. “My pulse rate dropped to 40 and I had to be hospitalised,” she said.Also read: Munnabhai thanks Mamta Banerjee for standing by him”I decided either it will be a victory of democracy, victory of people or I will sacrifice my life for Singur,” said Banerjee to the loud cheers of Singur people. She said West Bengal will cohabit both agriculture and industry as siblings and will be a model for the country.”Here land will be taken through private purchase and through negotiation. Government will keep its hands off from acquisition,” she added reminding that industrialists will have to directly buy land from people.NEW OFFER FOR TATA MOTORS The chief minister while referring to Tata Motors said she has 1000 acres of land readily available for the company if it wants to come to Goaltore, Burdawan and Kharagpur.”I give you a month’s time, if you are prepared, tell me,” she appealed to Tata Motors.However, Tata Motors is yet to react to the Supreme Court verdict and has not responded to Banerjee’s request to pull down their shed and shift their belongings.”Anybody, be it Tata, BMW can come here. Land is ready in the land bank. But if Tata wants land here, I cannot give,” she said.Addressing the victory rally, she said that it was the false ego of the Tata Group that came in the way and bungled up their dream project in Singur.The chief minister through the media asked Tata Motors to take the Supreme Court verdict sportingly. “As railway minister, Mukul and I gave them (Tata Motors) orders. Even panchayat department and PHE departments of the government gave Tata Motors the scope for investment,” she said explaining that she has never allowed personal differences and ego to come in the way of development.advertisementlast_img

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