Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Singur turns Nandigram?

Blaze and bombs at small-car plot

Singur/Calcutta, Jan. 23: Miscreants hurled bombs and set fire to fence posts around the plot earmarked for the Tata Motors plant in Singur early this morning.

On Sunday, when work on the small-car project kicked off with the construction of a boundary wall at Joymolla, some villagers had set fire to posts there.

Around 2 am, around 50 men assembled at Bajemelia’s Paschimpara, about 45 km from Calcutta, and set the posts on fire, burst bombs and fled.

Police sprayed water to douse the flames.

A large police contingent was deployed in Bajemelia today. Asked about the incident, western range inspector-general Arun Gupta said: “A probe is on.”

Krishna Santra, who was among pro-factory villagers on patrol along the fence last night, said 11 guards and 10 policemen were camping about a kilometre from the spot.

“Around 2 am, we saw the poles being set on fire. When we rushed to the spot, about 50 people ran away. They left a kerosene can behind. On their way back, they threw bombs.”

The guards were inside the fence and the miscreants could not be given a chase.

The Trinamul Congress refused to own responsibility for the incident but justified the act.

Trinamul Youth Congress president Madan Mitra, who has been camping in Singur, said: “The Trinamul-backed Krishi Jomi Raksha Committee was not involved. However, villagers can’t sit back and watch the Tatas build a factory on their land.’’

Chandernagore subdivisional police officer Kalyan Mukherjee said efforts were on to trace the culprits. “They threw bombs and tried to set fire to the posts. The situation is normal now,’’ he added.

Leader of Opposition Partha Chatterjee asserted in Calcutta that Singur will turn into a Nandigram, where seven people were killed in a gun battle between two groups of villagers — if the government allows the Tatas to set up the car plant.

“This (last night’s incident) is just the beginning,’’ he added.

About 300 Singur residents today joined construction work for the Tata factory at Joymolla. Soil from Khasherbheri was used to raise the level of low-lying Joymolla. Roads are being built in Gopalnagar, within the fenced-off area.

“From today, we will work round the clock in three shifts,’’ said the director of industries, M.V. Rao.


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