Despondent Singur farmers vent anger on Trinamool for Nano pull-out

October 4th, 2008 - 7:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Singur (West Bengal), Oct 4 (IANS) “We have lost everything” was the anguished cry of villagers in this rural pocket of West Bengal’s Hooghly district Saturday, a day after the Tatas pulled out the Nano project from the area. Villagers vented their anger against opposition Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, whose agitation forced the Tatas to shift out, by digging roads, blockading railway tracks and obstructing a key highway.

Most shops and business establishments in Singur, 40 km from Kolkata, were shut and there was very little traffic on the roads due to a 10-hour shutdown called by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) against the “conspiracy of the opposition parties” to abort the Nano project.

“We have lost everything. We have lost our land to the project, we have lost the jobs that were promised by Tata Motors,” a despondent Shankar Ruidas of Beraberi village told IANS.

State Inspector General of Police (Law and order) Raj Kanojia said there was tension in the area.

“We have already deployed our forces there taking into account the tense situation. Police are keeping a watch,” Kanojia told IANS in Kolkata.

Irate villagers squatted on the railway tracks at Kamarkundu station, blocking train movement for three hours till police dispersed them.

Ruidas, who was among the farmers who had willingly given land for the project and accepted a compensation cheque, joined in the protests Saturday.

“Now what will happen to the 50 percent extra money (for the land) that the state government promised us?” said Ruidas, as he joined in the slogan shouting against Banerjee and the Trinamool Congress.

In Tantipara, farmers dug up roads.

Across Singur, farmers gathered in groups to mourn the losses they would now suffer with the factory shifting from the area.

They also calculated the gains that would have flowed to Singur had the project come up.

This got them even more agitated.

“I will go and fight with the opposition and ask them who gave them the right to carry out such a destructive agitation,” said a visibly upset Swarup Barui of Beraberi village. He had given up 25 acres for the project.

Villagers also burnt tyres and obstructed the key Durgapur Expressway, part of the National Highway 2 connecting Kolkata and Delhi, till police intervened and cleared the blockade,

“I have lost everything. I gave 22 acres for this project. Tata Motors is now pulling out. We don’t know what to do,” Krishna Ghosh of Gopalnagar told IANS.

Though Ghosh owes allegiance to the Trinamool Congress, he had given 22 acres for the project willingly.

But Nimai Ghosh of Gopalnagar Ghoshpara, one of the unwilling farmers who had not taken any compensation, is adamant on his demand that the government return the three acres “forcibly” taken from him.

“The Tatas are only staging a drama along with the CPI-M. They will definitely set up the factory here. But we will be happy to get our land back,” he said.

Ending days of speculation, Tata Motors Friday announced it was pulling out its Nano small car project from troubled Singur and blamed the Trinamool Congress for the “painful” decision.

The auto major’s decision came 32 days after it decided to suspend operations in the Singur factory fearing for security of its employees who were manhandled and threatened by Trinamool Congress-led protesters, demanding the return of 400 acres out of the total area 997.11 acres taken for the project.

Since its inception in May 2006, the project to roll out the Rs.100,000 ($2,250) car, encountered resistance from the Trinamool-led farmers protesting against the ‘illegal’ acquisition of farmland.

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