The Centre’s “hasty” decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes is also going to leave an effect on the total expenditure calculated by the state government to provide assistance to farmers in Singur at the initial stage of farming after handing over their land.
It may be mentioned that the state government had decided to provide assistance to farmers in Singur who got back their land in “cultivable condition”. The Supreme Court had directed the Bengal government to return the 997 acre of land that was acquired for Tata’s Nano project during the erstwhile Left Front government.
The Supreme Court had directed the state government to return the land in cultivable condition, but Mamata Banerjee’s government went a step ahead and decided to provide assistance to the farmers by providing them financial and technical support to initiate cultivation on the 997 acre plot.
According to the sources in the state secretariat, the total expenditure from the first day, when the work of converting the land to cultivable condition had started, would be something around Rs 150 crore. It includes the expenditure for the work, starting from pulling down of boundary walls and factory sheds to distribution of seeds and fertilisers among farmers.
But after demonetisation of notes, the state government realised that it has to continue extending support to the farmers, who had got back their plots recently, for a few more months or else it would be difficult for them to sustain due to the ongoing cash crunch.
Earlier, the state government had decided to give a grant of Rs 10,000 to all the farmers in Singur to help them buy tools essential for farming, besides providing seeds and fertilisers. At the same time the government was also helping them by engaging agro-scientists to give advice on the measures needed to be taken for better cultivation on the land that had been lying unused for the past 10 years. The state government has also set up mini deep-tube wells to ensure sufficient supply of water for cultivation.
Despite of providing the assistance, farmers need to expend a good amount of money to ensure a better cultivation. But with the Centre’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, hardly any farmers are left with notes of lower denominations. At the same time the corporation banks were restricted from exchanging Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. It affected farmers the most.
The state government has decided to continue extending the support considering that their yield would get damaged if they cannot use portable pumps to water their fields due to lack of money.