Sunday, February 18, 2007


Singur issue: Mamata makes another appeal to Buddhadeb

Kamarkundu (WB), Feb. 17 (PTI): Making a "last appeal" to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today told the West Bengal government to halt work on the boundary wall for the Tata small car project in Singur and sit for talks.
"I have made repeated appeals for the return of the forcibly acquired farmland. This is my last appeal to the government. They should stop work on the boundary wall and sit for discussion," Banerjee said referring to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's offer of talks.
"In a democracy there is no harm in admitting mistakes and the Chief Minister should announce that forcibly acquired land will be returned to pave the way for talks. As Railway minister I had also made some mistakes," she said.
Addressing a meeting for the first time here at Singur proper in Hooghly district after prohibitory orders were quashed by the Calcutta High Court, she said "If the government does not respond to our appeal, they will be responsible for the consequences. We don't want violence, but it cannot be a one way affair."
She warned that the government might guard the boundary wall of the Tata project, but would not be able to save it. "It will crumble in a day."
Calling upon farmers who had opposed the acquisition of their land, not to give consent and accept compensation cheques, she said "You should sit inside the boundary wall and cook there."
Warning the administration against re-imposition of prohibitory orders, the TC chief warned that the government would be responsbile for the consequence.
The prohibitory order at Singur was struck down as an abuse of power by the administration on February 14 by the High Court.
Without naming the Tatas, she said it was a shame that in the interest of a "multi-billionaire", people at Singur did not have the freedom to assemble due to promulgation of Section 144 CrPC for 75 days.
Challenging the Chief Minister's statement that 96 per cent of the people there had given consent for land acquisition, Banerjee claimed farmers had not given consent for acquisition of 400 acre of the 997 acre acquired.
"If 96 per cent had given consent, why was prohibitory orders clamped and why were the police deployed to guard the project site ?" she asked and asserted that the Tatas would not be able to build their car plant at Singur.
"As long I am alive, I will not back out and ensure that you get back land forcibly acquired," she said while assuring the people of Singur that she would be with them in their fight.
In an indirect appeal to the Congress, the TC chief said "Let us put up a united fight. It is not a political movement, but a fight to safeguard the interest of farmers."

Mamata's return to Singur a damp squib
Prithvijit Mitra & Falguni Banerjee
[ 18 Feb, 2007 0046hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

KAMARKUNDU: Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's return to Singur, since her eviction after a violent agitation on September 25, was far from impressive. The rally she addressed at Kamarkundu on Saturday was to be her last for the month. Though the crowd cheered every word she spoke, the rally lacked the sting of a Mamata Banerjee meeting. CPM, on the other hand, was quick to point out that the agitation in Singur was losing steam. At a Krishak Sabha meeting at Joymolla, district leaders vowed to protect the Tata project fencing. "If they dare to touch the wall, we shall teach them a lesson. We are not going to take their threats lying down," warned Dibakar Das, CPM district committee member. Mamata reiterated that the industry should stay out of agricultural land. "The Tata deal is fishy. No tender was called for and land was given away at a throwaway price. They have been given facilities worth Rs 1,000 crore."

No talks minus Singur: Mamata

Singur /Ranigunj, Feb. 10: Mamata Banerjee today said any resolution of the land conflict should begin with Singur, but chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee iterated the Tata Motors project would come up there itself.
“There cannot be talks with the government if Singur is excluded. I am ready for a dialogue if the government returns the Singur land to the owners who did not give their consent,” Mamata (in picture by Pradip Sanyal) told a gathering at Boratelia, on the border of Singur block, 35 km from Calcutta.
“Nandigram and Bhangar can be debated but not before Singur is resolved. Singur marked the beginning of our movement against farmland acquisition,” she said, at the rally where former Calcutta mayor Subrata Mukherjee made a surprise appearance.
At Burdwan’s Ballavpur, 220 km from Calcutta, after laying the foundation stone of a power plant, Bhattacharjee asked the crowd: “Tell me, do you want industry or agriculture?”
“We want industry,” the people replied in a chorus.
“See, this is the people’s verdict and we shall go by it,” said a smiling chief minister.

Cheque mate Buddha:CM climbdown on singur
Statesman News Service

KOLKATA, Feb. 9: For the first time since the controversial Tata small car deal at Singur triggered violent protests and fierce resistance Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today admitted that some farmers “though few in number” had really not taken their compensation cheques for their lands acquired for the project. The chief minister also said the state government was ready to start a dialogue with such farmers. In another major climbdown, Mr Bhattacharjee announced that the state government would discuss with the Opposition before acquiring farm land for industrial projects in the pipeline, including the mega chemical hub in Nandigram. The chief minister had all along been claiming that no force was used to acquire about 958 acres of land at Singur. He also claimed that consent was given by the owners before the land was acquired. The Krishi Jomi Raksha Committee, spearheading the resistance, however, claimed farmers owning about 400 acres of land at Singur didn’t give their consent for the acquisition. It presented its case to the Governor through sworn affidavits by the affected farmers. As the crisis snowballed and farm land acquisition for the state’s industrialisation became a major issue picked up by Opposition parties, the state government and the CPI-M found themselves increasingly cornered. The chief minister was forced to write afresh to the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Partha Chatterjee, yesterday inviting him to an immediate dialogue with him on 13 February. He also sought to dispel the “impression” being created of the government had gone back on its promise for a dialogue given to Miss Mamata Banerjee for persuading her to end her 25-day hunger strike. Mr Chatterjee turned down the chief minister’s invitation setting three conditions, including return of land to farmers of Singur. Mr Bhattacharjee said : “I have received Mr Chatterjee’s reply to my letter and I have two things to say. It’s true some landowners, though a few in number, have not taken compensation cheques in Singur. If they have anything to say, they can discuss with the director of industries, who is stationed in Singur, or the Hooghly district magistrate. Orders have been issued.”
Mamata takes charge again
Statesman News Service

HALDIA, Feb. 6.: Ms Mamata Banerjee has revitalised the moral of the people here in the land acquisition movement by her inflexible charisma at the meeting on 4 February at Nandigram. Her fasting for 25 days in protest of the land grabbing at Singur which finally effected her health has left marks on the minds of the people. Ms Banerjee and other leaders stressed on communal unity to fight the CPI-M and the state government. A token amount of Rs 1 lakh has given to each of the families of the deceased persons and Rs 5000 has been handed over to the injured persons on behalf of Trinamul Congress at the ceremony. Ms Mamata Banerjee said: “If the state government can impose section 144 at Singur to grab the lands, we can too create a similar condition to protect the land. The SEZ act must be reviewed as industrialisation cannot take place on the farm lands by exploiting the poor farmers.” Singer Kabir Suman, summed up: “What people of Nandigram have done is a real act of democracy. The villagers have given their verdict that no land will be available for industries here.” The meeting of the Paschim Banga Krishi Jomi Raksha Committee on 4 February saw more than a lakh people from Nandigram gather at the Sitananda College ground to hear Ms Mamata Banerjee. Surprisingly enough, except the Trinamul Congress, other leaders of the Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh committee, which is the all party forum leading the anti-land acquisition movement at Nandigram, were absent at the meeting. Neither, Mr Siddiqullah Choudhury of Jamait Ulema e Hind nor Mr Abdul Samad, its convener at Nandigram were present at the meeting. The leaders of SUCI like Mr Manab Bera, Mr Nanda Patra, Mr Bhanbani Prasad Das were also absent at the meeting. A part of the protesters here alleged, that Trinamul Congress wants to take hold of the movement, which is clear from their idea of ignoring Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh committee at Nandigram. Trinamul leaders like Mr Suvendu Adhikari, Mr Abu Taher, who have without a doubt led the movement from the front but the local leaders like Mr Abdul Samad, Mr Nanda Patra, Mr Bhabani Prasad Das too have created an immense influence over the locals here.


Anonymous said...

hey everyone, here is a link to a three-part article I wrote discussing the partisan and divided media coverage:

Aniruddha Dutta, JU