Mamata sticks to demand, rejects Singur package

September 16th, 2008 - 7:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 16 (IANS) Remaining firm on her stand, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee Tuesday said the ruling Left Front government in West Bengal had rejected the agreement on Singur land row signed in the presence of governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi.”The agreement was signed between the state government and the Krishijami Jiban Jibika Raksha Committee (the Trinamool Congress-led farmers organisation) at Raj Bhavan on Sep 7,” Banerjee told a public gathering in front of Tata Motors Nano plant at Singur - about an hour’s drive from Kolkata.

“A decision was taken at the meeting that a four-member committee would be formed to settle the land dispute. But within five days of the agreement, the state government broke the committee,” she said.

“We joined the meeting as the governor himself took the initiative. Otherwise, we had no faith in the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led state government. In the meeting, the government gave an assurance to give back maximum acres inside the Nano project area. Later they backtracked from what they had promised in the agreement.”

“Last week the state government also announced a package for the farmers in Singur without consulting anything with us,” Banerjee said, adding that Trinamool does not support the newly-announced package for those who lost their land.

“We want ‘land for land’. The state government has only agreed to give back 70 acres inside the Tata Motors’ small car factory site. Our people had already identified about 300 acres inside the factory premises and the remaining 100 acres adjacent to the Nano project area. But the government didn’t pay any heed to that,” the Trinamool chief said, reading out the copy of the agreement in public.

The six-point package, advertised by the government in newspapers here Sunday, sets aside 70 acres from within the project area for families affected by the project and provides for an additional cash compensation of 50 percent of the price originally offered for the land acquired in Singur.

The Trinamool-led farmers’ organisation opposes the takeover of farmland for the Tata Motors project in Singur.

The protesters are demanding the return of 400 acres of land which they allege was forcibly taken from farmers to build ancillary industries adjacent to the Tata Motors’ mother unit.

A total of 997.11 acres was acquired for the project, of which 691.66 acres belonged to farmers who gave their land willingly.

The dispute reflected a larger standoff between industry in India and farmers unwilling to give up their land in a country where two-thirds of the billion-plus population depend on agriculture.

Two years ago, Tata Motors started setting up the unit at Singur for the world’s cheapest car Nano, priced at Rs.100,000 ($2,500).

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