Sunday, May 20, 2007

Is Singur A Lost Game? Should We Now Forget About Singur?

We are often asked these question these days. Our answer is - No, Singur is not a lost game, and we cannot forget it . The many reasons for this are given below.

Though there is now a 10 foot brick and mortar wall around 997 acres of land, the future of the project is still uncertain. The State Government continues to use a heavy police presence along with the special riot police Rapid Action Force to guard the wall that has been forcibly put up around farmers’ lands. It has put up watch towers that are manned round the clock by the police. The Government knows that the wall will only last as long as the police protect it- the project affected people have sworn to break the wall the moment the police is moved out.

The farmers of Singur (owning about 400 acres) have refused to take cheques even now and have refused to part with their land. The wall’s legitimacy, both in legal terms and in ethical terms is therefore questionable.

The Government has lied again and again about the number of farmers who have accepted cheques and given consent, as the table below shows

The farmers of Singur continue to struggle. Camps have been set up in two places near the wall that are constantly occupied by protesting farmers and others who support them. They are also waiting for the Court order. They are ready to build up greater movement in future depending on the Court order.

Every time there is heavy rain and therefore a problem for the police to move around, the people of Singur take advantage of the situation and “attack” the wall. The last attack took place on 8th May 2007. when the people of Bajemelya were in a pitched battle with the police for over an hour and broke the wall.

Agricultural workers, who were not owners of land but got their living from the land have been the first group to face destitution after the building of the wall. PBKMS organised a health check up for them recently along with measurement of Body Mass Index and examination for other signs of nutrition. Many of the workers and their families complained of hunger, fall in wages, greater indebtedness, loss of food sources etc. this year as compared to last year. They have also been visited in the past week by high officials from the district and from the West Bengal Industrial Development Industrial Corporation ( the Government body responsible for facilitating the Tata Motors project). These people have tried to bribe the agricultural workers with promises of free houses, better roads etc. The workers have so far rejected their promises, asking them instead to guarantee them work for 11 months in the year, the amount of work they used to get on the land taken over for the Tata Motors Project.

When workers on the brink of starvation and farmers faced by mounting debts can resist short term inducements like free houses and cheques in order to struggle against the long term effects of the Tata Motors project, should we also not join them in their struggle?

Paschim banga Khet-Majoor Samity

1 comment: said...

I really wonder why do CPI-M claims itself as communist party? Why don't they agree that their party is ultra-liberal party while they are openly implementing neo-liberal policies?