ibnlive » India

Dec 11, 2006 at 09:04pm IST

Singur's ground reality unearthed

Singur: Niranjan Bag is one of the many farmers of Singur who claim the Bengal government grabbed their land to set up the Tata Motors' proposed small car factory.

He tells surveyors from ultra Left political groups that he wasn't swayed by the cash bonus that the government paid to landowners for signing this letter of consent.

"No, I haven't given my land, and I'll not part with it voluntarily. If I do, how will I support my family? We will be destroyed," says Niranjan Bag, a peasant from Singur.

The government claims it acquired 932 out of the 997 acres of land with consent of landowners. Yet, hundreds of farmers registered their dissent with these surveyors. And though the land is gone, the survey brought a glimmer of hope to distraught farmers.

Volunteers amassing testimonies from unwilling farmers claim they already have evidences to prove that over 350 acres of land falling under the project area have been forcefully acquired.

They now plan to use the evidence to challenge the acquisition before Supreme Court. Government officials claim a section of landowners are now under pressure from sharecroppers.

But seeing things from inside Singur, where people are still on fast, social activists are of the view that many more were unwilling to sell their paddy fields than what the government admits.

"If the decision of the bargadars would have been recorded and a proper survey of the land had been done, the people would not have onsented to part with their land. I have total doubts whether the project would have happened at all or not," says Anuradha Talwar, a social activist.

Last week, Bengal government completed the Singur farmland buyout by erecting a 12-km fence around the acquired plot. It restrains people like Niranjan Bag from setting foot on what used to be his land.

With every new initiative, come new hopes. But there seems to be nothing that can get the government to yield.