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Last Updated : Jul 11, 2019 08:33 AM IST | Source: PTI

Unwilling to till, Singur farmers selling land: Mamata Banerjee

The TMC government has fulfilled the commitment made to the farmers during the Singur agitation but it depends on their will whether to harvest or to sell it off, she said on the floor of the Assembly.


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said a number of farmers of Singur in Hooghly district, which is synonymous with her anti-land acquisition movement, has become unwilling to harvest there and are selling off their lands at high prices.

The TMC government has fulfilled the commitment made to the farmers during the Singur agitation but it depends on their will whether to harvest or to sell it off, she said on the floor of the Assembly.

The anti-land acquisition movement at Singur and Nandigram had catapulted Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress (TMC) to power in the state in 2011, ending a 34-year-long Left regime.

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However, BJP candidate Locket Chatterjee won the Hooghly Lok Sabha seat, of which Singur is a part, in the recent general elections.

"After giving back their land, we had conducted soil tests there. Some harvested, some did not. The land lied untilled for almost a decade. It's their (farmers') right. During 2018-19, around 792 farmers harvested land. But now, that number is getting decreased. Many are selling off their lands at high price," she said.

Ten years ago, Tata Motors had built a factory for the world's cheapest car, Nano, at Singur, but the project was abandoned and shifted to Gujarat following a massive agitation by the farmers, led by Banerjee and her party.

The project was moved to the western state on the invitation of the then chief minister Narendra Modi.

In 2016, the Supreme Court had quashed the Left Front-led West Bengal government's acquisition of 997.11 acres of agricultural land for the Tata Motors plant and ordered its return to the farmers.

Though the Banerjee-led TMC government returned the land to the farmers in November 2016, three years later, only 30 per cent of the land could be made cultivable as the plots on which the concrete structures had come up remained barren.

To a question by CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty on crops harvested in Singur during 2017-18, Agriculture Minister Asish Banerjee said paddy, wheat, potato and maize were produced in a total of 1,920 bigha (640 acre) land, which falls within the land returned by the state government.

After his reply, Banerjee stood up and said that it depends on the farmers what they would do with their land. Our government has helped the farmers in all possible ways and while giving back their portion of the land, we had given them a grant of Rs 10,000 also.

Of the 997.11 acre of land in Singur, around 955 acre was returned after the Supreme Court verdict and owners of 41.21 acre were not found, she said.

Both farming and industry are taking place in Singur, Banerjee said, without elaborating it.

Meanwhile, the chief minister also informed the House that the state government has decided to fill up 33,687 vacant posts in various categories soon.

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First Published on Jul 11, 2019 08:09 am
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