Recollecting the leadership given by Mamata Banerjee to build up protest against the then Buddhadeb Bhattacharya’s government that had acquired the land without any consultation with the farmers, members of the Singur Krishi Jomi Raksha Committee on Friday welcomed the observation of the Supreme Court that “the land was acquired by the previous left Front government without undertaking a proper social survey”.
Banerjee had promised to give back 400 out of the 997 acre land that belongs to the unwilling farmers if she was voted to power in 2011. Soon after the change of guard in the state, Banerjee’s newly formed government had passed the Singur Land Rehabilitation and development Act, 2011. But it had not been possible to give back the land in the past five years as Tata Motors had moved to Court. Henceforth the matter is still passing through a legal battle.
Panchu Manna, the 83-year-old land loser, was on Friday once again found assembling with other unwilling farmers discussing the observation of the Apex Court. “We had never lost hope. I may die someday but my successors will get back their right to once again cultivate crops on the land that yields three crops a year. I had one and a half acre land in the plot. We had been raising the issues that Supreme Court has observed on Thursday from the day one the land was acquired. The observations have started showing us rays of hope and I believe that the day is not that far when the unwilling farmers will rejoice after getting back their land,” Manna said.
Haripada Das, another farmer, said they will never forget the torture that was unleashed to acquire the land keeping the police in front. “Moreover, why such 997 acre was acquired when the Tata had asked only 600 acre of land to set up the small car factory?” he raised the question maintaining that many people who used to farm in their own land now turned to daily wage labourers. There were many families from which both husband and wife used to work in their land and they never had to struggle to earn their livelihood.
Ahead of the Assembly elections, the Opposition had started campaigning that Mamata Banerjee had failed to keep her promise of giving back land to the unwilling farmers. But, during a rally in Singur ahead of the elections in Hooghly, Banerjee said that she had not forgotten her promise and she knows how to keep her words. Once the case is resolved in the Court she will give back the land to the unwilling farmers.
Everyone starting from the land losers to common people and leaders of political parties are eagerly waiting for the next date of hearing in this connection in Supreme Court.