Thousands converge in Singur against Tata project

August 24th, 2008 - 2:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 24 (IANS) Thousands converged Sunday near the Tata Motors’ small car factory site in Singur in West Bengal for protests demanding the return of 400 acres of farmland acquired for the project.As security forces were deployed to prevent possible violence, around 200,000 people were expected to join the demonstration organised mainly by the Trinamool Congress, said Becharam Manna, a farm leader.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and social activists Medha Patkar and Arundhuti Roy were scheduled to reach Singur, 40 km from here, Trinamool sources said.

The Trinamool-led Krishijami Jiban Jibika Raksha Committee, which opposes the takeover of farmland for the Tata project, has called for indefinite protests at the Nano factory site from Sunday.

The protesters want the Left Front government to return 400 acres of the total taken from what they say are “unwilling farmers” to build ancillary industries adjacent to the main auto plant.

A total of 997.11 acre was acquired for the project, of which 691.66 acre belong to farmers who have given their land willingly.

“I am going to express my solidarity with the people of Singur. The Tatas should not use their corporate power for wrong purposes,” Patkar said.

The protesters have set up 21 camps around the factory site.

Security arrangements have been tightened in and around Singur, said Inspector General of Police (law and order) Raj Kanojia.

“We have deployed around 3,000 policemen. But they will not do anything unless the situation arises,” said Rajiv Mishra, the Hooghly district police superintendent.

Tata Motors took up the project to build the small car factory in Singur two years back. Since then the firm has faced resistance from sections of the farmers and political parties over the farmland acquisition.

“We want our land back and we will continue to agitate till our demand is met,” said a farmer in Singur, Laxman Das.

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