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Let farmers negotiate land sale for Tata project: VP Singh

The former prime minister shot off a letter to Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee asking him not to intervene in the sale of land, reports Sutirtho Patranobis.

india Updated: Oct 14, 2006 03:42 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis

The controversy over West Bengal government offering to acquire land in the Singur area of Hoogly district for a Tata Motor’s small car project refuses to die down.

On Friday, former Prime Minister VP Singh shot off a letter to CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee not to intervene in the sale of land and allow the farmers themselves to negotiate if they wanted to.

In the letter to Bhattacharjee, Singh said that the state government should not be involved in acquiring land for industrialists. Instead, industrial houses should directly negotiate with farmers.

"The industrialists and industrial societies need to approach the farmers directly in case they need the land of the farmers to set up their projects. Why is this intervention by State Government for acquiring farmer’s land? Whay cannot industrialits to be told to go and negotiate the prices with the farmers," Singh questioned.

Singh added that if the farmers are not willing to sell their lands then the Government should not interfere in the sale.

The former PM said that the farmers have apprised him of the problem and have told him that land in question is a multi-crop producing one. "They are fertile lands and the harvest produced is very high. This is the sole source of livelihood of the villagers," Singh wrote.

He wrote that beside the future of the farmers, the livelihood of farm labourers would also be in question if the deal is clinched. "With the cessation of farming activities these labourers depending on farming activities will be rendered jobless. They will neither get any compensation, nor will (they) be able to get in any job. Therefore, it is necessary to provide a rehabilitation package to the labourers of the village," Singh said.

Singh also informed the CM that the villagers of the area have told him about a large piece of barren land barely a few kilometres away from the proposed site that could be used to set up the project. "It is my strong perception that the barren land available should be given to Tata Motors project," Singh said.

First Published: Oct 14, 2006 03:42 IST