Farmers whose land was acquired for the Tata Motors Nano car factory at Singur and their families burst out in jubilation today after the Supreme Court held the acquisition illegal.
Hundreds of people, who were waiting for the apex court’s verdict since the morning, erupted in joy as soon as the news flashed on their television screens.
They stepped out of their houses to congratulate each other. Men, women and children clapped, danced and cheered together and greeted each other with green gulal and sweets.
Rallies were taken out with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s posters.
Slogans like ‘Mamata Banerjee zindabad’, ‘Mamata Banerjee tomay amra bhulchi na, bhulbo na (we will never forget you)’ echoed in the air.
“It is because of ‘didi’ that we have seen today’s victory…We are very happy today. Didi’s perseverance and our faith in her have finally reaped this victory,” they said expressing gratitude to Banerjee who had fought an unflinching battle for months at Singur and in Kolkata, including a 26-day hunger strike.
It was her anti-land acquisition movement at Singur in November, 2006 that had brought Banerjee back to prominence after her party’s huge setback in the Assembly elections earlier that year.
Riding on the Singur movement and the one at Nandigram in January 2007, Banerjee turned the table on the CPI(M)-led Left Front, which began losing political ground in the state starting the 2008 panchayat and the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, culminating in their defeat in the 2011 Assembly election in the state after 34 years.
After coming to power in 2011, Banerjee’s first legislation was the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011 for returning land to the unwilling farmers.
The villagers of Singur, located off Durgapur Expressway, about 40 km from Kolkata, were happy with the Supreme Court’s directive that compensation paid to them would not have to be paid back and those who had not taken the compensation, would now get it at the same rate.
Asked what would they do after getting their land back, the farmers said they could decide only after seeing the condition of it as construction activities were carried out there and no cultivation was done in the vacant portions for 10 years.