ByÂ Bhawani Sahoo:
In 2007, when the left front government was in power it had leased 997 acres of land at Singur to Tata motors for production of ‘nano cars’. The land was acquired from 13,000 landowners and farmers and 2,000 of them did not accept compensation for their 400 acres of land.
Last year during election, Mamata Banerjee promised to return the land which was forcefully acquired –this was a major agenda of the campaign leading to her victory.
After becoming the chief minister, she wanted to pass the Singur land rehabilitation and development Act 2011, which made provisions for her government to reclaim 400 acres of land belonging to “unwilling farmers” from Tata Motors.
On 21st June 2012, the Calcutta High Court ruled that the Act introduced by Trinamool Congress is void and unconstitutional as it does not have the President’s assent. Secondly, returning land to their original owners is not done in public interest. And finally, the act did not have any provision for compensation to Tata Motors for the losses they suffered. Mamata Banerjee, who is already at a disadvantage over her stance in the Presidential Polls and her failure to enforce her law, now has an added insult to her injury.
The High Court’s judgement can even bear a negative impact on the existence of her party in the rural election to be held next year. The ongoing legal fight between Mamata Banarjee and Ratan Tata has definitely raised questions on the political efficiency of the West Bengal leader. But this fight has pushed Singur and its farmers’ future into darkness and has equally spoiled the industrial prospect of the state.
On one hand, the “willing farmers” who sold their land for a dream of industrialization and prosperity were disheartened by the political turmoil which shattered their dreams, when in 2008, Tata Motors moved out of Singur. On the other hand the “unwilling farmers” who are still fighting for their land have achieved nothing and have also lost their hope in this hyped legal fight.
Whether willing or unwilling, the ultimate sufferers are these poor, landless farmers who have neither land nor any work to sustain their living.
The present scenario at Singur is another example of political parties and industrialists exploiting ‘the poor’ for the sake of their vote banks selfish desires.