Thursday, October 12, 2006

Singur: false promises to land losers

A report in today's The Statesman exposes the fraud played on farmers whose land is to be acquired by the West Bengal state govt, for hand-over to to Tata Mators for their low-cost car plant.

Mr Biswanath Sau, a 55-year-old farmer of Singur’s Khaserveri, didn’t want his four bighas of land to be acquired by the state government for the proposed automobile factory in Singur. Sau even participated in the anti-land acquisition stir. But he finally relented and sold his land after local CPI-M leaders promised him a job at the automobile factory, besides monetary compensation. He was reportedly “advised” by CPI-M leaders to come to a makeshift camp of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) at Khaserveri today to receive the “appointment letter.”

When WBIDC officials told him they weren’t at Singur today to serve appointment letters, Mr Sau burst into protest. “I agreed to sell land after a CPI-M panchayat member lured me with the promise of a job. But they didn’t keep their promise. They are cheats. The local panchayat member had asked me to collect my appointment letter from WBIDC officials today. But the officials said they had come to Singur to receive applications from educated youths of families who had lost their land, to impart technical education to them. I would certainly not have given consent had I been aware of the CPI-M’s plan,” Mr Sau said.

Mr Asutosh Guchait, another farmer from Khaserveri, also received a nasty shock when he learned that the camp had not been “set up to serve appointment letters to land losers.” He, too, was promised a “job at Tata’s factory.” “I was asked by CPI-M leaders to be present at the camp to receive my appointment letter,” said Mr Shukdeb Bera of Jyotipara, who sold his land after being “promised a job at Tata’s car factory.” He was served with same reply when he arrived, hopeful of a new life. There were several others like Ashutosh and Biswanath who were “cheated” by local CPI-M leaders, who allegedly “gave false promises of jobs” with the intention to “get their consent in favour of land acquisition.” They include some women, too.

Mr Ranjit Mondal, CPI-M’s Singur zonal committee member and chairman of Singur panchayat samity, said he was “unaware” of any promise made by his party colleagues to earn the consent of the farmers.

See also: Blackmail in Singur.

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