Singur: Its been eight years since the land was taken over for Tata's Nano project in Singur. But even after the company pulled out five years ago, villagers have not got their land back. And Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, ruling the state for the last two years, did not keep her promise to return land to unwilling farmers.
The legal tangles have delayed the process leaving people miffed. Even sops like 16 kg rice and Rs 2,000 compensation per month just remained on papers. This resulted in the Trinamool Congress facing the ire ahead of the panchayat polls.
One of the farmers Sheikh Musarrarf who lost his land said the TMC will lose the panchayat polls in Singur. "The government is equally compensating those who made no sacrifices. I am unhappy about that. The Trinamool will lose in Singur," he said.
Another peasant Ajit Santra said the Tata project would have benefitted them. "I regret saying that the Tata project would have benefitted us immensely," he said.
But for land labourers like Debananda Pakhira, who remained unaffected by the Tata project, the government compensation came as a blessing. "Singur peasants are very happy. We will vote Mamata Banerjee to power once again," he said.
Barely four kilometres from the abandoned Nano site, land sharks keep gobbling up fertile farmland right next to the national highway. In a process no less coercive than the disputed Singur acquisition, dumped fly ash on wetland proves that acres of land have already changed hands from farmers. Ironically, there is very little sign of industry and almost no political protests this time.
"I used to tilt these lands. Now I cannot do so as the land has been filled with garbage," said Ramesh Barui, a displaced farmer.
Even as the Left hopes to regain some lost ground in Singur and its neighbourhood, Trinamool remains confident.
"People are witness to Mamata Banerjee's attachment to Singur and the development that has taken place. That has silenced the CPI-M," said Becharam Manna, TMC leader from Singur.
With the Tatas gone for good and no indication of fresh industries coming up anytime soon, all hopes of Singur are now pinned on the Supreme Court battle. While the Trinamool is desperate to keep the land return hope alive till the rural polls, the CPI(M) is hoping to convince voters that this is yet another day dream that may never come true.
West Bengal: 8 years since their land was taken by Tata Motors, villagers yet to get it back