Land mess Govt awaits apex court’s verdict on the constitutionality of its law, but farmers’ patience running thin.
Farmers in Singur who “unwillingly” gave up their land for the Tata Motors car factory now feel that the only way to come out of the present land stalemate is to reach for an out-of-court settlement with the Tatas. The uncertainty over the fate of the 400 acres of land belonging to the “unwilling” farmers, that has got caught in a legal battle, has only added to their growing impatience.
Even Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who led them during the Singur movement that led to the exit of Tata Motors from the area, during her recent visit failed to convince the farmers that her signature Singur land reclamation law will be validated by the Supreme Court. “We are not against industry and we will not oppose if an out-of-court settlement takes place. The Tatas may be allowed to set up their factory on the land of the farmers who gave up the plots voluntarily, but the unwilling farmers must be given their land back,” said Mahadeb Das, a frontline leader of the Singur Krishi Jomi Raksha Committee, that led the land agitation under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee. His 11 bigha land falls in the abandoned project site.
Somnath Manna’s five bigha plot was “acquired against his will” for the car factory project. Today, he wants the state government to open talks with the Tatas and to arrive at an amicable solution. “Our condition is pathetic. We have neither money nor land. If we had given the land to the Tatas, our condition would have been much better. I do not agree with those who say there is no profit in agriculture. I want my land back, but the way things are taking place, it seems that there is little hope of getting back land,” Manna, a resident of Beraberi, said.
The chorus of “go for a out-of-court settlement with Tatas and return the land to us” is growing louder and clearer among the farmers. This was evident on Tuesday when a host of Trinamool Congress ministers reached Singur to observe the sixth death anniversary of Tapasi Mallik, an activist of land agitation whose charred body was found from the disputed project site.
However, Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee, considered close to Mamata, seemed not at all ready for talks with the Tatas,