Friday, February 2, 2007

A Survey Report On Singur

Rajesh Datta from 'Bharater Manabatabdi Samity' sent the survey report on Singur prepared by 'Sanhati Udyog'. 'Sanhati Udyog' is a forum of people’s organisations, citizen’s rights organisations, cultural organisations, little magazines and concerned citizens in support of the farmers’ movement to save farmland in Singur.

On an initiative by Sanhati Udyog, a door-to-door ‘people’s survey’ was undertaken during November 2-20, 2006 in the six moujas of Singur where 997 acres of farmland has been acquired by the West Bengal government for Tata Motors to set up a factory. The idea was to get a detailed, first-hand insight into the villagers’ minds regarding the proposed factory and the consequent loss of their farmland.
The survey was necessary because Singur farmers had been resisting the takeover for the past six months and there was a clear case for ‘lack of transparency’ in the state government’s reluctance to provide information related to the land acquisition process. The Chief Minister, the Minister for Industries, their cabinet colleagues and government officials, quoting disparate and random figures, had been repeatedly asserting that the farmers were voluntarily handing over land. However, the administration had failed to come up with a detailed list of who had given how much land. The impression gathered by the ‘Public Hearing’ held in Singur on October 27, in the presence of Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan and writer Mahasweta Devi, displayed a different picture. The survey was taken up in response to such contradictory perceptions.

The team
The survey team consisted of social activists, trade unionists, writers, journalists, teachers and students. A film crew, a media consultant, a writer and others lent a supporting hand. The team members trudged miles through dusty village tracks, often on empty stomachs, stopped passersby on their way to work, knocked on people’s doors, invaded their kitchens, held court in the open, sat in tea-stalls and sought out those working in the fields squatting beside the paddy-enveloped project site. They collected a heap of information by interviewing farmers, checking the land deeds and mutation documents, filling up questionnaires and noting down their observations.
Fact-gathering by such an amorphous group, lacking in professional expertise and method, had its limitations. But an investigation carried out in such close contact with the people was bound to yield the real picture of the impact of farmland-acquisition on the farming communities of Singur. Needless to say, the most enthusiastic response came from the people of Singur whose love and warmth will be hard for the survey team to forget.

Download full text of 'people's survey'

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