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Farmers in West Bengal's Singur find themselves in Catch-22 situation

ANI | Updated: Apr 10, 2021 06:17 IST

Singur (West Bengal) [India], April 10 (ANI): Singur, once the hotbed of political dynamics in West Bengal now bears the melancholy of farmers who ended up being in a Catch-22 situation.
Even after getting back their land after Tata Motors' exit, Singur farmers stand clueless as land is turning barren. They are looking forward to getting a solution between industry and agriculture.
Even after a decade has passed since the project was suspended, leaving 997.11 acres barren in Singur, the area is still known as 'Tata Nano factory'. It consists of three panchayats namely Kejidi, Gopalnogor and Beraberi.
Now farmers carry out potato farming in some portions of this land in small quantity.
The protest commenced due to forced land acquisition by the then Left Front government for building Tata Motors car industry.
The stir of 2006 in Singur soon turned into a historic anti-land acquisition movement by the farmers that received foremost support from Trinamool Congress and later by other political parties and intellectuals crossing state as well as international borders. The movement ended in 2011.
Singur anti-land acquisition movement is one of two major movements that propelled Mamata Banerjee-led TMC to dethrone the 34 years old mighty Left Front rule from Bengal. The other movement that was instrumental to pave the way for the TMC government was the 2007 Nandigram agitation.
The snatched land was given back to the farmers legally in 2016 after Supreme Court's verdict.
However, the major concern of farmers now remains how to make the land cultivable.

Probir Patro, one of the many whose land was snatched during the agitation received it back after SC's order in 2016, however, he is in a 'Catch 22' situation now.
"I have my land in the Tata Nano project. My land has not been cleaned even after repeated requests. I do farming in my elder brother's land but that does not help me to earn much money. My family is dependent on 16 kg of rice and Rs 2,000 provided by the state government," Patro told ANI.
Another farmer, who has 1.5 bigha of land is inside the suspended factory's boundary, on the condition of anonymity said, "The land of Singur was very fertile. It used to give crop thrice a year but today we cannot cultivate it even once. It is more like a wasteland now. I am caught in the middle of nowhere and not only me but many like me shares the same fate."
Despite having their won land the farmers cultivate on other's land for livelihood. Along with this another section of farmers coexist in Singur who calls themselves 'farmers of yesteryears' and currently have settled for other means of livelihood, through which they somehow manage to earn their day-to-day meal.
Another villager from Beraberi who was not willing to be named said, "Singur has seen many ups and downs since 2006. We have lost hope now. The main reason for our anti-land acquisition is covered in deep dust now. We no more cultivate there and work in other's land.
We had hoped but now we are tired. Our plight is such that we cannot even sell our land."
Singur is all set to witness a high-voltage contest on Saturday in the fourth phase of West Bengal Assembly elections with the 88-year-old Rabindranath Bhattacharya popularly known as 'Mastermoshai' taking on TMC's Becharam Manna. Bhattacharya, the sitting MLA from Singur was earlier with TMC but joined the BJP after the ruling party denied him a ticket this time.
Against the two heavyweights, CPI(M) has fielded 28-year-old Srijan Bhattacharya as its candidate from Singur.
The candidates here have vowed for industrialisation, development as well as agriculture while addressing their public meetings. (ANI)