At Singur where Tata small car project was stalled, Mamata announces new industries

Updated on Jun 03, 2022 07:36 PM IST

The Bengal CM announced several road projects for the area, including one that will connect Singur to north Bengal. The projects will be built at a cost of ₹3000 crore, said Banerjee, who also virtually inaugurated the Kamarkundu flyover that passes over the tracks of the Eastern Railway.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee distributes food among students at Singur in Hooghly district. (PTI PHOTO.)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee distributes food among students at Singur in Hooghly district. (PTI PHOTO.)

Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday offered prayers at the temple of Santoshi Mata that she built at Bajemelia village in Singur in Bengal’s Hooghly district, the site of her long-drawn agitation against acquisition of multi-crop farmland by the Left Front government for the Tata small car project.

Banerjee said she was visiting the temple for the first time since she had observed a 16-week vow dedicated to the goddess. The temple was completed in 2019.

The Bengal CM announced several road projects for the area, including one that will connect Singur to north Bengal. The projects will be built at a cost of 3000 crore, said Banerjee, who also virtually inaugurated the Kamarkundu flyover that passes over the tracks of the Eastern Railway.

“I sanctioned the flyover project when I was Union railway minister,” she said amid a controversy over Union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw not being invited to the event.

“We will set up agro industries in Singur and a railway coach manufacturing unit at Uttarpara. Many industries will come up. Industry and agriculture will both grow in Singur. You have a bright future” said Banerjee.

The chief minister, who has been visiting the districts every week to prepare for the panchayat polls to be held next year, recalled memories of the agitation that forced Tata Motors to shift the small car project to Sanand in Gujarat in 2008. Banerjee overthrew the Left Front in 2011 and formed the first Trinamool Congress (TMC) government.

A part of the 997.11 acres of farmland that then chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee acquired for the Tata project is still lying useless because concrete work made the land unfit for agriculture.

During the 2021 assembly polls, this issue helped the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) accuse Banerjee of ruining job opportunities and failing to provide alternative livelihood to local people.

The TMC, however, managed to retain the Singur seat although it’s sitting legislator, Rabindranath Bhattacharya, switched sides on the eve of the polls and contested on a BJP ticket.

“I was beaten up violently by the police during the movement. Doctors said I would need life-saving medicines. I took a vow to build the temple. I believed that Santoshi Mata’s blessings would help farmers get back their land. She listened to their prayers. Today, I offered puja and distributed food among children,” said the chief minister.

The BJP criticised Banerjee, saying Bengal lost a big industrial opportunity because of her agitation.

“She keeps referring to projects she sanctioned as Union railway minister. How many of those have been completed?” said Bengal BJP’s chief spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya.

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