The sting operation in which some Trinamool Congress leaders were filmed taking money has left no effect on the people of Jangalmahal. Instead they still recollect the corruption of Left Front leaders depriving the poor people of their benefits.
The names of CPI(M) leaders Anuj Pandey and Dalim Pandey are still fresh in the minds of the simple villagers for the corruption that made the people poorer and the Pandey brothers went on piling up money.
The development that took place in Jangalmahal has helped people of all classes and tribes in the region to heal the pain of getting deprived of all sorts of benefits for decades during the Left Front regime.
They were found giving no importance to the allegations of taking money on Trinmool Congress leaders as shown in videos of a sting operation. They gave a blank look when asked whether they believe what is shown in the video clippings and lamented their apathy during the Left Front regime. Without showing much interest to speak about the sting operation, Sital Hembram, who was busy farming in his land in Lalgarh in Binpur I block, said: “I don’t know much about the sting operation. But I had seen how Anuj and Dalim were making money when poor people used to struggle to meet both ends. People had revolted against them after keeping quiet for years.”
The villagers had recollected how the then CPI(M) zonal committee secretary of Binpur, Anuj Pandey, and his brothers made money and turned forest land into cultivation land. Some even alleged that the CPI(M) leaders had encroached the lands of many farmers after evicting them. The Pandey brothers and their cousins had around 70 bighas of land in their possession in the area.
Dharampur, which was once considered to be the 30-year bastion of the CPI-M, was in the headlines when the villagers had attacked and demolished the “luxurious” house of Anuj considering it was built by exploiting the farmers. “The house was considered to be the only place of prosperity in the region. But the bitter truth behind Anuj making money was known to all. The forest rangers were threatened as he and his cousins continued smuggling Sal logs, turning forests area to land where cultivation was possible,” said a villager of Dharampur, who was once a CPI(M) worker. He said to Millennium Post on condition of anonymity maintaining that “There is nothing to think they had allowed poor villagers to carry out farming in those plots. They had kept the lands in their possession.”
Comparing the present situation when people were highly benefitted by various projects implemented after the change of guard in the state, he continued saying that how the CPI(M) leaders in Jangalmahal area continued making money by depriving people of the benefits under various projects like of Indira Awas Yojona and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). “Now money gets transferred directly to the bank account of a person who is working under the 100-days job scheme. Earlier pradhan of gram panchayats used to distribute the wage. It could be the highest level of corruption when fake “master roles”, the list containing names the villagers working under MGNREGA scheme, were prepared and money was distributed among leaders,” he said.