Returning land is the biggest challenge for us

  • Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
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  • Updated: Apr 06, 2011 13:06 IST

Fielded from Singur's neighbouring Haripal Assembly constituency, Trinamool's Becharam Manna, convener of Singur Krishi Jami Raksha Committee, is focusing his campaign on his and leader Mamata Banerjee's fight for peasants who lost land because of the aborted Tata Motors project.

You are known as the 'face of Singur movement.' But it is a battle you are yet to win. The land is still locked in a legal battle and peasants who did not accept compensation are struggling to feed their families. Do you think the Singur movement is still relevant to local peasants?
Singur is still a burning issue. It is because of our movement that the Centre is considering amendments in the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. It's because of the Singur movement that thousands of peasants not only across the state but also beyond managed to save their land. Singur is a story of successful battle against land grabbers.

How would Haripal's peasants relate to the Singur issue?
They can easily relate because the economy here is almost similar to Singur. People here are not eager to see huge industries on their land. They want agro-based industries that can help sell their produce. And they want improved irrigation system for better production. After Singur, it's crystal clear to all that only we stand by peasants.

You expect the Singur problem to be solved if your party forms the government?
The Tatas and the CPI(M) signed such a deal that it is tough the get the land out of legal complications. But experts such as retired IAS officer Debabrata Bandopadhyay has said that there are provisions for returning the land if the government wants to. Returning the land is our challenge.

 

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