Singur, an agricultural area in West Bengal, India has been in the news. The Tata company wants to get land there for its low-cost car project. But the local farming households have protested against this, because they fear loss of livelihood, with no alternatives. And the state govt is acting on behalf of the company.
In a bizarre twist, The Statesman reports today that the state’s commerce and industry secretary, Mr Sabyasachi Sen, has said that the development of Singur would come to a halt if the Tatas decide to abandon their project in the face of agitation from the local residents.
He said that the acquired land would not be given back to the farmers. “Even if Tatas go back, the acquired land will remain with the government. Not only will they lose their land, but there will not be any industrial development in Singur as the state government will declare it as an agrarian block and no conversion of agricultural land will be allowed there. Hence, all development avenues will come to a halt,” said Mr Sen.
Ruling out the possibility of shifting the project , Mr Sen said that if the local residents welcome the Tatas, it would be beneficial to them as the industrial house had prepared a blueprint of community development for them.
This is nothing short of blackmail, and a rape of democracy!
If the govt. will declare it an agricultural zone after the Tatas exit – why does it not declare this right now, so that the project comes up in some other non-agricultural zone? And if its to be declared an agricultural zone, why should the state hold on to the land acquired from farmers?
I hope suitable action will be taken against this power-crazed bureaucrat, acting on the behest of his political masters.