Mamata revvs up for new fight
As the Tata Nano went on show in Delhi on Thursday, Mamata Banerjee rolled out her renewed agitation in Singur, report Arindam Sarkar and Sutirtho Patranobis.
As the Tata Nano went on show in Delhi on Thursday, Mamata Banerjee rolled out her renewed agitation in Singur, the site for the small car's factory in West Bengal.
The Trinamool Congress chief said the bubble around the small car would burst and nothing would happen in Singur unless the lands of the farmers forcibly taken by the state government were returned. Leader of Opposition Partha Chatterjee said Ratan Tata's dream would not be fulfilled at the cost of the farmers.
"Singur farmers have to get back their lands. We will see to it. And till then, nothing will happen in Singur. Leave it to us, we will show what Singur is capable of," Mamata told
Mocking the hype around the Nano, Mamata said Singur would go down in history as the farmers' movement against forcible land acquisition. "Singur agitation would continue till the common people get justice."
Of the 997 acres of multi-crop land acquired, Chatterjee said 347 acres have been forcibly taken. Some local farmers had petitioned Calcutta High Court. "I will not say anything more since the matter is sub judice."
He attacked Ratan Tata for saying there were suggestions to name the car "Mamata". He described the comment as "sarcastic and in poor taste".
"When people come close to retirement they become senile. This is a mad man's comment. How dare he disrespect the people of Bengal."
In the Capital, Medha Patkar led a protest by a group of Singur farmers.
"We do not want the factory (in Singur). For nearly two years, we have been protesting. Many farmers have been ousted and their land grabbed. Many of us do not want compensation," said Juthika Pal, a farmer.
Another, Nityananda, said four farmers have committed suicide till now. "There have been starvation deaths in the villages of Singur. The land is multi-crop where we grew paddy, potato and vegetables. There is no way we can tolerate our land being taken away. We will continue to fight."
"The focus of India and the world might be on the cheapest car but there are people who are still fighting against the company," said Patkar.
She claimed that contrary to the company's promises, Singur residents who got jobs at the site were employed as night watchmen or as manual labourers.