Tuesday, June 19, 2007

No surplus land in Singur for farmers, says Basu


Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, June 8: Former chief minister Mr Jyoti Basu today admitted there is no surplus land in Singur available to distribute among farmers who don’t want to give it up for the Tata small car factory.
However, he said the CPI-M is trying to work out a new formula for their rehabilitation. Industry minister Mr Nirupam Sen has been asked to prepare a note on the matter, which is likely to be placed before the Left Front tomorrow. Talking to reporters after the weekly meeting of the CPI-M state secretariat at Alimuddin Street this morning, Mr Basu said: “There are many legal aspects. Mr Nirupam Sen is preparing a note. But there is no land in Singur”.
Mr Basu also admitted that farmers owing allegiance to the Krishi Jomi Raksha Committee are not likely to move out of Singur even if the government provides alternative land. “Why would they go?” he asked, echoing Trinamul supremo Miss Mamata Banerjee who claims there are many farmers who don’t want to give up their land. She is demanding that 300-odd acres she claims were forcibly acquired for the car factory and ancillary units be returned to the farmers.
Asked whether he could foresee a peaceful end to the land dispute, the veteran Marxist said: “That depends on them (Trinamul).” Pointing out that in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) the government has filed an affidavit at the Calcutta High Court stating the entire 998-acre plot is needed for the Tata project, a state secretariat member of the CPI-M claimed the party is in a fix. “If, under any circumstances, we decide to return 300 acres of acquired land to the farmers the government will be accused of lying before the court. Moreover there are many legal complications in the process of returning acquired land”, he said. Tomorrow’s Left Front meeting is likely to be stormy as allies of the CPI-M are upset with Front chairman Mr Biman Bose. Meanwhile, the state government has rejected a proposal to provide alternative land to farmers in Singur.