In Singur, farmers line up for land - finallyJuly 8th, 2011 - 3:02 pm ICT by IANS
Singur (West Bengal), July 8 (IANS) The municipal office in this industrial town in West Bengal throbs with activity as hundreds of farmers gather daily to submit their applications for reclaiming land.
Hope is running high among farmers in Singur, who had to part with their land for industry under West Bengal’s erstwhile Communist government, even as they struggle daily for sustenance.
Mamata Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress chief who spearheaded their cause to get back the land and rode to power riding on peasant protests, is yet to visit them after becoming chief minister in May.
But the farmers are more than grateful to “Didi”.
“We have full faith in Didi. We have stuck to the path of truth and nothing can stop us. We know we will be victorious,” said Paromita Das, a peasant wife who had to forgo her fertile 2-bighas when the Communist government acquired land for the Tata Motors Nano car factory.
The project had to be scrapped owing to a massive and violent peasant agitation led by Banerjee. Her government has now enacted an act to give back 400 acres of land which were said to have been forcibly acquired to set up the car factory.
Since the land was allegedly taken away against their will five years back, every day has been a struggle for the 2,000 odd farmers spread in this industrial town, in Hooghly district, 40 km by road from Kolkata.
And they are now lining up to reclaim their land.
“So far we have received 1,989 forms and expect around 300 more. The process of identifying and measuring of land is also on,” informed Singur Block Development Officer Pulak Sarkar.
The Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act provides for the return of 400 acres of land to farmers while the remaining 600 acres are to be used to set up industrial units.
Following the act, the automobile company was evicted from the factory premises in Singur. But the company has moved court challenging the validity of the act.
The automaker June 28 approached the Supreme Court against the “undue haste” being shown by the government in returning the land after it was denied interim relief by the Calcutta High Court.
A day later, the apex court stayed the re-distribution of land acquired from the farmers till the final order on the matter came from the high court, which was asked to give its ruling preferably within a month.
Over time, many farmer families have lost their members to poverty, but grit and hope have not faded.
“I lost my husband and son to illness. We had no money to treat them. My daughter-in-law too died of malnutrition. But I have not given up hope. I know I won’t die before seeing my son (land),” said Seema Manna, unable to hold back her tears.
Almost all the families of the “unwilling farmers” tell similar tales. The agonies of life have kept them together and this togetherness has brought the zeal to fight.
Krishna Chandra Manna, 70, a teacher who loves to write, has composed several poems inspiring the villagers.
“His rendition of poems can instil courage and confidence in anybody,” said Mahadeb Das, who has been at the forefront of the intense protests.
The fact that Banerjee has not visited the place after taking over as chief minister has not dampened their spirits.
“She will come here with our land. She is waiting for that day. That’s why she hasn’t come yet,” said Joothika Manna.
“We have not celebrated Durga Puja since 2005. But this time we have started to think of celebrating and making preparations,” said Aparna Das. She expressed her undying faith in Mamata Banerjee.
Becharam Manna, who led the Krishi Jami Raksha Committee (Singur Save Farmland Committee) that spearheaded the farmers’ drive during the Singur episode, also exuded confidence.
“The process of giving back land has been initiated. No matter who or how many cases are filed, people will get back their land,” said Manna, now a lawmaker from Haripal that includes a part of the factory land.
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- I believe Singur's farmers will win, says Mamata - Jun 22, 2012
- Singur farmers file applications for return of land - Jul 23, 2011
- SUCI-C urges all parties to join Singur farmers' movement - Jul 01, 2012
- Monthly allowance to Singur's unwilling farmers doubled - Jun 27, 2012
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- Fourth round of Bengal polls: Spotlight on Singur, Nandigram - May 02, 2011
- Jolt for Mamata as court annuls Singur land law (Roundup) - Jun 22, 2012
- Bengal to acquire 400 acres at Singur to return to farmers - Jun 09, 2011
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Tags: agitation, automaker, automobile company, car factory, chief minister, communist government, development act, didi, factory premises, farmers, kolkata, land rehabilitation, mamata banerjee, nano, peasant protests, reclaiming land, sustenance, tata motors, trinamool congress chief, west bengal