Mamata sticks to demand, calls for road blockade Friday

August 26th, 2008 - 7:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Singur, Aug 26 (IANS) The West Bengal government must return 400 acres of farmland to “unwilling” farmers of Singur and they will not accept land at any other site in compensation, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said here Tuesday.”Singur farmers want their own farmland back, instead of any alternative land. The state government has already deceived them once by acquiring their land. Now we will not fall into its trap and stop our indefinite agitation till our demand is met,” Banerjee told a gathering of protesters at the Tata Motors site in Singur, 40 km from Kolkata.

She said Trinamool Congress would hold a state-wide road blockade Friday. “All major roads across the state will be closed from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday,” she said.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said: “Returning 400 acres means dropping the entire project. I cannot afford to roll back the project now. It is too important for the state.

“I’m trying to make the opposition parties understand that the automobile company and its ancillary industries should be in a continuous piece of land. Otherwise it will not be viable. I think I will succeed in convincing the opposition about the importance of the project,” he said at an interaction with Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) representatives.

The Trinamool-backed Krishijami Jiban Jibika Raksha Committee (KJJRC), which has opposed the takeover of farmland for the Tata project, has been continuing the indefinite protest at the Nano factory site from Sunday.

The protesters have demanded the return of 400 acres of land, which they allege was forcibly taken from “unwilling farmers” for ancillary units adjacent to the Tata Motors’ plant.

Banerjee also alleged that the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front government had failed to bring industrial development to West Bengal.

“If industrialisation stops in West Bengal, then it’s the fault of the government, not us. Chief minister Bhattacharjee lacks the ability to deal with industrialists while at the same time safeguarding the peasants,” she said.

Bhattacharjee earlier said the state is still receiving many investment offers in areas like petrochemical, steel, leather, cement, food processing, IT and bio-technology.

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