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Farmers in Singur welcome govt's decision to set up agro-industrial park

Kolkata: A day after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced the setting up of an agro-industrial park at Singur, famers in the region welcomed the decision as it would lead to employment generation and development of the agricultural sector.

The agro-industrial park will be set up on 11 acres at Singur off National Highway 2 near Singur station. There would be no acquisition of land for the same. It may be recalled that farmers' agitation spearheaded by Banerjee against forceful acquisition of land at Singur in Hooghly to set up a small car factory led to the downfall of the Left Front government in 2011. Her government not only returned the acquired 997 acres to farmers, but also provided all sorts of support

to them for making the multi-crop land cultivable again.

The park will benefit the farmers in two ways. First, they would be able to sell their produce at a higher rate. Secondly, youths from their families will get jobs at the agro-industrial park.

Sushanta Bagui, a farmer from Gopalnagar Ghoshpara area at Singur, said: "We are extremely happy that the state government is giving equal significance to agriculture and industry. We will extend all support needed for construction of the agro-industrial park." Though a section of people is trying to politicise the move, Trinamool Congress vehemently protested against such intentions

saying that the party was never against industrialisation.

TMC MP Sougata Roy said: "BJP state president Dilip Ghosh does not know anything about the developments related to Singur. When Mamata Banerjee came to power in 2011, a case was pending before the Supreme Court. Finally, the Supreme Court gave a verdict stating the acquisition of land in Singur to be "unconstitutional". After that Banerjee took the initiative to return the land which was forcibly acquired by the Left Front government for an automobile factory. In the meantime, farmers were given Rs 2000 per month and free-of-cost ration by the state government."

"We had protested against the forceful acquisition of multi-crop land by the erstwhile Left Front government. Now, the agro-industry is coming up only on 11-acres, which will immensely benefit the farmers," said

Trinamool Congress leader and minister Purnendu Basu.

Another farmer in the area, Nabakumar Ghosh, also supported the move. "It is the right policy taken up by the government. The agro-industry is developing at a place, which is known as the vegetable bowl of Bengal. So, the investors will also show inclination towards setting up their units here as they will easily get raw materials at minimum transportation cost," the farmer added.

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