Singur resembled a battle zone on Saturday. For, Mamata Bannerjee’s siege of the Tata small car plant will begin on Sunday.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) activists are racing against time to complete their arrangements, while the government is busy strengthening the battlements.
Tent cities have come up — for TMC volunteers outside the factory gates and for security personnel inside the complex. Four water canons and police, RAF, CISF personnel and commandoes are ready for the showdown.
But whatever the outcome of the tussle, there’s tremendous excitement among the people.
Sumit Bhandari, a resident of Asansol in Burdwan and a corporate executive, said, “The sight of cops guarding the plant on one side, and the TMC supporters setting up camps on the other is rare and scary.”
Bhandari, however, was concerned over the possibility of a blockade on the Durgapur national highway, which he has to use everyday. In fact, the 5-km-long stretch of NH 2 along the car plant was lined with tents pitched by both sides.
The Singur Krishi Jami Raksha Committee, which has been spearheading the movement, is setting up 21 camps along the boundary wall of the car plant.
The main camp has been set in front of the entrance of the plant, which Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh are supposed to occupy. It can accommodate about 150 people.
But the rests are not yet complete. “We will be working overnight to have these camps completed,” committee convener Becharam Manna said.
TMC leaders from different parts of the district are already camping in Singur, he added.
The party is also stocking rice and vegetables to feed its band of warriors. Cooks have been sent from across the state for running the kitchens. Even beddings are being arranged for the weary soul.
“This is a decisive moment in our lives. No one listened to us for more than two years. Now we have to make people listen to our cries,” peasant leader Mahadev Das said. He has been busy throughout the day campaigning among the peasants.
Meanwhile, the administration has almost completed its own preparation to face the peasants. Nearly 700 policemen will be deployed at the plant, apprehending sudden attacks, and almost double the number is kept in reserve.