Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Nandi frets, Singur eats fruits


Singur, May 13: The movement against land acquisition for industry started here.

But unlike Nandigram, where not an inch was acquired but violence has become endemic, the buzzword here is development.

On the eve of the polls in Singur, where around 1,000 acres were taken over for the Tata small-car project, the land war is not forgotten. But as the deadline for the Nano rollout draws closer, the mood is more of anticipation than apprehension.

The last time Singur witnessed a demonstration was when Swraj Paul, who is setting up an ancillary unit at the project site, came here in April: a handful of protesters stood on the roadside and waved black flags. It was more tokenism than a show of strength.

“We were initially opposed to parting with our three cottahs of land,” said Ganesh Hazra of Gopalnagar, who had initially joined the Save Farmland Committee to oppose land acquisition by the government. “Eventually, we did give our land and got Rs 25,000 for it. The money helped me get my daughter married and now I’m a guard at the factory.”

Not just that, chuckles Hazra, the two cottahs he has across the road from the Tata Motors plot will now sell for at least Rs 1 lakh.

Unlike Hazra, who had initially opposed the land acquisition, 60-year-old Shambhunath Kamley had happily handed over his two cottahs to the government.

“We made a few thousand from our small patch of land,” Shambhunath’s son Anup said. “But with the factory coming up, we have set up shop outside the premises and are now serving meals — rice, dal and vegetables — to the workers. Our options have suddenly opened up now and we are thinking of expanding our business. Even my five-year-old nephew wants to go to Gopalnagar High School.”

For the people of Singur, what matters most now is the employment opportunities that the factory has opened up.

“I received training in the Tata factories in Pune and Jamshedpur and have been temporarily provided work here,” a young man said as he parked his new BSA-SLR cycle outside the factory gates.

“I was without any work after I passed my ITI course from Belur Vidyamandir, till the factory started. Even if I’m not absorbed here, I know that with the training that I have received, I’ll land myself a job somewhere.”

This is precisely what the CPM is hoping to cash in on. “The fruits of development have started showing,” said Sundar Koley, the CPM candidate for the panchayat pradhan’s post in Gopalnagar.

“About 40 youths from my ward are engaged in loading and unloading materials. Many more are supplying stone chips for the project. The mood is turning.”

Members of the Trinamul Congress-led Save Farmland Committee, however, feel this “development” is a “temporary phenomenon”.

“When the factory is ready, all the work the local residents are engaged in will dry up,” said Becharam Manna, the convener of the committee, who is contesting for a place in the panchayat samiti.


See Also:

Nandi Payback

Image of party that ‘terrorises’ hurt



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Letters to the editor of The Telegraph which were not published:

To

The Editor,
The Telegraph,
Kolkata

Dear Sir,

Sub: re http://www.telegraphindia.com/1080514/jsp/bengal/story_9267849.jsp

I would be grateful if you could let me know if Mr Kinsuk Basu is a person of sound mind and/or body. I only ask because from my months-long experience (such as it is) of Singur, I thought it would have been very difficult to ubiquitously hear the 'buzzword' of 'development' in pre-elections Singur. And then, too, the heat these days is indeed oppressive, and Mr Basu may not have been either able or inclined to go out and talk to more than the immediately visible BSL-SLR bicycle-parking or chuckling few of the 'people of Singur'. Far be it from me to grudge the youth who has a new bike, or Ganesh Hazra of Gopalnagar who anticipates a favourable price on his two cottahs of (so far) free land. However, I admit it would have been nice to hear of the present conditions of people who do not have a new bike, or, indeed, any bike, or, indeed, any rice or food certain for the next few weeks (I am reminded of the people of Dobandi and Khaserberia, for instance, who do not any alternate forms of earning, or any skills other than the agricultural, and who have not received any compensation for loss of livelihood till date), and of people whose lands have been acquired without consent, and who do not have an additional few cottahs across the road to sell at a becoming price.

I should also say that in the recent past, I have seen some rather fine reporting on Nandigram in your paper by Imran Ahmed Siddiqui and Rohini Chaki, and was therefore so surprised at this remarkably myopic and, on the face of it, this despicably lazy reportage, that I do indeed fear for the health of Mr Basu. I would be happy to be reassured that Mr Basu feels well and understands English, which is his medium, presumably, for the paper. I look forward to further work by him, and would be very grateful to be spared such infinite drivel as in the 14 May 2008 page 9 report called 'Nandi frets, Singur eats fruits'.

Thank you.

Amrita Dhar

To

The Editor,
The Telegraph,
Kolkata

Dear Sir,

Sub: re http://www.telegraphindia.com/1080514/jsp/bengal/story_9267849.jsp

I hereby register my strong disapproval of the disgusting report published in your paper on the fourteenth of May. Mr Kinsuk Basu writes "But unlike Nandigram, where not an inch was acquired but violence has become endemic, the buzzword here is development." I have no doubts that all sane readers of your newspapers will realise how unfair and insensitive this is. The reporter talks of the 'endemic' violence in Nandigram almost as if it were some sort of an inner corruption of the said place. I would like to point out, apart from the rather dramatic statement issued to DYFI members, whereby the CM declared that the land acquisition notice issued should be torn and disposed, there has been no official notice, to my knowledge, which declared the government's intentions of not acquiring land in Nandigram. It is not surprising then that the people of Nandigram are unable to place their trust in a government which expresses itself through the fascist bluster of 'paid back in their own coin'.
Mr Basu goes on to write :

The last time Singur witnessed a demonstration was when Swraj Paul, who is setting up an ancillary unit at the project site, came here in April: a handful of protesters stood on the roadside and waved black flags. It was more tokenism than a show of strength.

I really don't know when the protests were ever about 'show of strength'. We witnessed live on television how ineffectual the show of strength by the farmers was against the police force deployed in Singur on the second of December, 2006.

Also, did Mr Basu try to find out how many of the guards employed by the upcoming Tata project were paid their monthly salaries, regularly? Did he try to find out, how many sharecroppers have NREGA or BPL cards in Singur? Or for that matter how many of them were given 15% of the price of the land as the ruling party claimed to have done? If he has, then it was not reflected in the report published in your paper.


Thank you,

Madhura Chakraborty

2 comments:

Bhooter Raja said...

To
The Editor,
The Telegraph,
Kolkata

Dear Sir,

Sub: re http://www.telegraphindia.com/1080514/jsp/bengal/story_9267849.jsp

I would be grateful if you could let me know if Mr Kinsuk Basu is a person of sound mind and/or body. I only ask because from my months-long experience (such as it is) of Singur, I thought it would have been very difficult to ubiquitously hear the 'buzzword' of 'development' in pre-elections Singur. And then, too, the heat these days is indeed oppressive, and Mr Basu may not have been either able or inclined to go out and talk to more than the immediately visible BSL-SLR bicycle-parking or chuckling few of the 'people of Singur'. Far be it from me to grudge the youth who has a new bike, or Ganesh Hazra of Gopalnagar who anticipates a favourable price on his two cottahs of (so far) free land. However, I admit it would have been nice to hear of the present conditions of people who do not have a new bike, or, indeed, any bike, or, indeed, any rice or food certain for the next few weeks (I am reminded of the people of Dobandi and Khaserberia, for instance, who do not any alternate forms of earning, or any skills other than the agricultural, and who have not received any compensation for loss of livelihood till date), and of people whose lands have been acquired without consent, and who do not have an additional few cottahs across the road to sell at a becoming price.

I should also say that in the recent past, I have seen some rather fine reporting on Nandigram in your paper by Imran Ahmed Siddiqui and Rohini Chaki, and was therefore so surprised at this remarkably myopic and, on the face of it, this despicably lazy reportage, that I do indeed fear for the health of Mr Basu. I would be happy to be reassured that Mr Basu feels well and understands English, which is his medium, presumably, for the paper. I look forward to further work by him, and would be very grateful to be spared such infinite drivel as in the 14 May 2008 page 9 report called 'Nandi frets, Singur eats fruits'.

Thank you.

Amrita Dhar

Bhooter Raja said...

To
The Editor,
The Telegraph,
Kolkata

Dear Sir,

Sub: re http://www.telegraphindia.com/1080514/jsp/bengal/story_9267849.jsp

I hereby register my strong disapproval of the disgusting report published in your paper on the fourteenth of May. Mr Kinsuk Basu writes "But unlike Nandigram, where not an inch was acquired but violence has become endemic, the buzzword here is development." I have no doubts that all sane readers of your newspapers will realise how unfair and insensitive this is. The reporter talks of the 'endemic' violence in Nandigram almost as if it were some sort of an inner corruption of the said place. I would like to point out, apart from the rather dramatic statement issued to DYFI members, whereby the CM declared that the land acquisition notice issued should be torn and disposed, there has been no official notice, to my knowledge, which declared the government's intentions of not acquiring land in Nandigram. It is not surprising then that the people of Nandigram are unable to place their trust in a government which expresses itself through the fascist bluster of 'paid back in their own coin'.
Mr Basu goes on to write :

The last time Singur witnessed a demonstration was when Swraj Paul, who is setting up an ancillary unit at the project site, came here in April: a handful of protesters stood on the roadside and waved black flags. It was more tokenism than a show of strength.

I really don't know when the protests were ever about 'show of strength'. We witnessed live on television how ineffectual the show of strength by the farmers was against the police force deployed in Singur on the second of December, 2006.

Also, did Mr Basu try to find out how many of the guards employed by the upcoming Tata project were paid their monthly salaries, regularly? Did he try to find out, how many sharecroppers have NREGA or BPL cards in Singur? Or for that matter how many of them were given 15% of the price of the land as the ruling party claimed to have done? If he has, then it was not reflected in the report published in your paper.


Thank you,

Madhura Chakraborty