Sunday, September 28, 2008

Singur UPDATE :Tata already quit

Isn't we[ Bengals] self suicidal?
TO ENSURE food security and development of the society at the same time, we have to utilise the latest scientific inventions and machines. It helps increase food production and grow more crops in a shorter time. The educated youth of the farmer’s family who will become redundant because of mechanisation of farming should acquire the skill sets needed to seek employment through other avenues. And that’s exactly where the role of industry becomes very important because the government cannot provide jobs to each one of them. So, we need industries.
Now consider West Bengal, where high-density population and poor industrialisation has worsened the problem of unemployment. When the Tatas announced that their much-awaited Nano plant would be set up in Singur in West Bengal, experts hoped that the factory manufacturing the world’s cheapest car would provide livelihood to more than 50,000 families. The main unit and 51 ancillary units would provide direct employment to more than 6,000 people and further provide indirect employment to people seven to eight times that number. Though there was a small chunk of nearly 18 per cent of ‘unwilling’ land-losers who didn’t accept solatium for their land, work proceeded at the Singur plant to ensure that the Nano hit the roads by October 2008. In August 2008, when 85 per cent of the project had been completed, the ongoing protest or ‘movement’ took a more violent turn. The so-called ‘peaceful satyagraha’, which had been limited to attacks on the boundary wall and intimidation of innocent Nano workers, was now replaced by threats to lives and brutal physical attack on officers, workers and security guards working on the project.
Interestingly, the untiring crusaders against industry are a unique combination of ultra-left and ultra-right forces led by Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC).
The latter is represented only to the extent of 10 per cent in the state assembly; and in the Lok Sabha, only one from the TMC represents West Bengal – the state sends 42 representatives to the Lok Sabha! Even after the government’s recent announcement of an additional solatium of 60 per cent (50+10) and other new carrots (including the restoration of 70 acres of land acquired for the project) to make the compensation package more attractive, protests continue, demanding restoration of 400 acres of land, 300 acres from the project area and 100 acres from outside the project area.
Restoring 300 acres of land from the project area implies aborting the project. Even if restored, the flyash-laden land can no longer be used for cultivation. Yet the protesters insist on their ‘democratic’ demand being met when an overwhelming majority of farmers, youths and people from all walks of life want the project not to be aborted! So, the real issue is not one between the poor farmers and the industry; nor is it an issue of agriculture versus industry. The real issue at Singur is politics and dirty, destructive politics at that. And these politicians can do everything to hinder West Bengal’s development in order to exploit the anti-establishment and negative sentiments.
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