Mamata's elusive promises leave Singur farmers in lurch

Mamata's elusive promises leave Singur farmers in lurch

We cant return the land as the matter is sub judice: Minister

Almost an year after they jumped on the Mamata bandwagon which finally succeeded in overthrowing what was described as the ‘decadent left, the landless people of Singur seems to be regretting their decision.

Their chagrin lies in the fact that the government is yet to work on its promise of returning at least 400 acres of land acquired for the Tata’s Nano car factory.

"We had total faith in Mamata and believed her when she said she would return our farmlands. Now, we feel we are fools for buying her promises. She simply used us to ascend to power," said 47-year-old Shyamali Das, who had a taste of the police baton in one of the rallies to protest land acquisition.

Such is the level of animosity here that Singur legislator Becharam Manna could not gather the courage to visit the landless now languishing in penury and squalor. "We were the first to protest the takeover of farmlands. Mamata then took over the agitation.

None of us accepted the compensation cheques. We participated in Mamata's dharnas, blockades and agitation. At the end she became the CM but we gained nothing,” said 51-year-old Malati Das, who had to part with six bighas of land to facilitate the project.

Their ire is not unjustified since Mamata Banerjee, who had visited the strife-torn region in Hooghly district 38 times between 2006 and 2011, has remained elusive ever since she assumed charge as the Chief Minister.

Singur remained a CPM bastion for over three decades until the 2008 panchayat polls.

Their loyalty wavered after the Left government embarked on a land acquisition spree for the Tata project. The force-acquisition of 997.11 acres left 3,347 families landless.

But the heavy politics for the coveted Bengal throne pushed all the furious protests by the locals to the margin. Consequently, the Left front was toppled, the Tata’s went to Gujarat, but the landless still stare at an uncertain future after an SC order barred the government from returning the land to the farmers.

“We wanted to give back the land to the farmers but the matter is sub-judice and nothing is in our hand now,” State Commerce and Industry Minister Partha Chattopadhyay said.

The Trinamool Congress bagged 15 of the 16 seats here in the 2008 panchayat election. However, in the next panchayat election scheduled for April 2013, Singur might have a few surprises for Banerjee.

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