Mamata signals fresh agitation at SingurSeptember 17th, 2008 - 11:08 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Sep 17 (IANS) With West Bengal’s ruling Left Front government declining to return 400 acres to farmers, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee Wednesday signalled a fresh agitation in front of the Tata Motors Nano plant at Singur.”We’ve temporarily suspended our sit-in at Singur as Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi himself took the initiative to resolve the issue. We have not totally withdrawn our agitation,” Banerjee told a press conference here, minutes after Chief Minister Buddahdeb Bhattacharya ruled out returning any more than 70 acres from within the project area to farmers affected by the project.
Bhattacharya also claimed that the government and the opposition had never reached a consensus on giving 300 acres from within the project area to the farmers during the talks in the presence of governor.
Banerjee said the Trinamool Congress will declare its future course of action after discussing the issue with Gandhi, as he had mediated the impasse.
She also took strong exception to Bhattacharya’s comments that he saw no scope of the governor mediating any more discussions.
“How can he say this about the state’s constitutional head? This is very insulting to the governor,” Banerjee said.
“The governor is now out of station. Let him come back and we will declare our political programme after discussing the situation with him. The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front government has rejected the decision which was taken in front of the governor himself,” she said, adding that Trinamool wanted a peaceful solution to the Singur land row.
“We responded to the call for talks because we believe in democracy and our constitution. We helped to restore normalcy as the state government had assured us to give back maximum acres to the unwilling farmers, share-croppers and contract labourers at Singur inside the Tata Motors’ project area. But they have violated the agreement now,” Banerjee said.
She remained firm on her stand that the government return land to the farmers who have refused to accept the compensation cheques.
“The government is solely responsible for this situation. It’s a people’s movement and it’ll continue if the demands are not met,” she added.
“The Left Front government has insulted the decision of the farmers at Singur. This government has no right to remain in power. They should go. The Centre should also take note of this,” the Trinamool supremo said.
Banerjee has been spearheading the farmers’ protests against the state government’s alleged ‘forcible’ acquisition of farmland for the Tata factory that is slated to roll out the world’s least expensive car Nano.
She laid a siege on the factory Aug 24, forcing the company to suspend work since Sep 2. The government and the opposition later thrashed out an agreement and formed a four-member committee to look into available surplus land for rehabilitating farmers who had not taken their cheques.
Later, the government came out with a compensation package, which included an additional 50 percent of the price given to the farmers whose land had been acquired for the project.