The Singur Fiasco

Nipon Haque

What could have been more of an irony? The communist government championing the cause of the Tata-s and the opposition mobilising farmers who don’t want to part with their land. The Singur fiasco has been hitting headlines daily for the past one month or so. The movement by the unwilling farmers spearheaded by firebrand opposition leader Mamata has stalled the progress of the Tata factory prompting the Tata-s to consider pulling out.

It would not be wise to blame the opposition alone. Surely, the government has come a cropper in tackling the land acquiring process from the very beginning. The chief minister is to be blamed equally for creating this deadlock since he relied on his cadre muscle rather than reason and failed to foresee the future. His idea that farmers can be ‘bought off’ has also failed miserably.

Well doesn’t it seem the government is giving a lot of importance to Mamata Banerjee all of a sudden? A year ago, police would have bodily lifted Mamata from Singur and dropped her on Howrah bridge! Thing is, the ruling party is alarmed at losing its foothold in the rural votebank – the so-called red bastion. Firstly, they badly burnt their hands in Nandigram and then in the gone by Panchayat polls the opposition fared unexpectedly well.

Her detractors claim that Mamata is upto some cheap politics. Some political mileage she is trying to gain from all this. But thanks to her, the farmers have found a voice and got some media attention who would have otherwise been crushed in the face of cadre tactics. To talk about the Mamata’s method to it, well it only reflects to some extent what the communists have been doing in the past, albeit in a wider scale, ensuring speedy outflow of capital from the state. Factories after factories, well doing ones, closed down in the 80s – call it destructive trade unionism. Now they want industries to come up which is a welcome move. But they are failing time and again, from Nandigram to Singur.

Personally I would be very happy to see a Tata factory come up here. The state badly needs some big industries. But I’m against forcibly taking away lands from peasants. A friend of mine who is a corporate honcho was telling me that it’s unacceptable if the government takes away land from farmers just because they are weak. What if it was ‘our’ land? The land that has benefitted a family for generations and will continue to earn their bread for generations to come, is an asset that you just can’t take away like that against a monetary compensation! In this connection, let me mention what Amartya Sen has recently said, that land has to compensated with land. That does make sense.

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"The Singur Fiasco" by @bongbuzz



  1. this post exactly conveys the feelings of general people like me. The government should make alternate land available for the farmers and oppositions should think of development of state at this moment !!

  2. what i feel is eta bengal and moving ahead here is sumtin like ‘should not do’ type…petty politics…no development…huge population…low job…”jamon sorkar tamon lok,tamon birodhi”
    ekhane loker somoyer dam nei…
    eg. keu jodi 123 bus dhorbe bole daray,same route er hajarta bus geleo jotokhon na 123 bus pabe,se dariye thake….
    r khali pnpc….
    ekhankar mediao tamon,khali program banay,economist ane,sahittik ane,neta ane…tara bishleshon kore…but no results….
    jaihok dakhajak ki hoy….
    =0(nit fol zero)

  3. So, according to you how was the land going to be acquired? And where?
    Cant you see the truth that Mamata opposed this not for the farmers but for the votes?She would definitely oppose wherever they would have planned it as it was their plan to oppose it( as had it been truely working it would benefit Singur ,West Bengal and the ruling party).
    We must not forget how TMC did not attend any meeting to solve the issue.
    We must not forget how stubborn they were to “give back 400 acre first then we shall discuss”.If they had any will to solve the issue they could have sat face to face with the government.But had they done that?
    They kept on the issue to give back the land(which became useless for farming by the time and thus a better compensation was the thing they should have tried for if they truely wanted the betterment of peole) untill the project was cancelled after a violent act. They deliberately planned , and worked to cancell the project,(which would be better for Bengal).
    The next issue, Govt was stubborn to do it there, is not very strong.Saying that the process was already started and many had taken their money. It would not certainly be possible for them, who had taken the money to return it and take back a piece of land(on which construction was going on)on which they cant do the farming job (not considering that according to constitution land once acquired cant be returned).
    The last issue , why the govt did not buy the land and just acquired it?
    Cause throughout India govt acquires land for industry and west bengal is not out of it.The compensation was also bigger than the other states,(however , it may be considered inadequate and a demand for larger amount could be made, BUT WAS NOT MADE).
    Besides that, by acquiring land ,the land mafias could not make much money in it which could be easy for them if govt had bought the land( They would buy large lands there by hook or by crook from the poorer people at lower cost and later sell it).
    Besides all, if govt had bought the land , then the landless labours working there would not get a single penny which they had got as compensation as govt had acquired it.

    Support a party, but not blindly.Analyse , think , listen from all sides , and then support.Support on rationality and on naked truth, not on the emotion and confusion created.

    TRUTH IS ,

  4. It could not become a reality because the land was taken from farmers against their wish. Mamata only gave voice to the farmers whose cries would have remained unheard otherwise.

  5. Oh ya! Remember that not an inch is returned, only the project was cancelled , and Mamata was showing “v” .Moerover, soon after it was cancelled she and her troops were out of Singur, and so was the “platform of resistance that was speaking for the poor farmers”. Why they withdrawn? The 400 acres are not returned till date. (You know the cause, maximum vote benefit is squeezed out of it and Mamata now do not need this issue any more to fulfill her PERSONAL gains.)
    And gave voice to cries ! GIve me a break! Do you want me to believe this that farmers were eager to get an infertile piece of land after that construction? She repeatedly told that “THAT 400 acre” was to be returned.Moreover, she never opted for a realistic alternative, that is to say a better compensation.
    I show you the bitter truth here

    1. Mamata said she was fighting for the rights of the unwilling farmers whose demands were to give them back 400 acres of infertile land(full of which they did not own, as only ~20% were unwilling and owned land)(If for debate we consider that what she said was true and 400 acres were the demand of the unwilling farmers).

    2.She fought for (this is absolutely true as she even let her troops ransac the bidhansabha) this cause (400 acres) untill the project was cancelled.(Now, according to you “she is giving voices to the cries of farmers( wanting to throw away moneytary compensation for infertile land)”(of course unheard, as none of us heard farmers talking about it out of TMC camp)

    3. Mamata showed “V” after it.

    4. 400 acres are still NOT RETURNED.(In this stage lets consider that really farmers wanted 400 acres as she told.So conclusion is THE DEMAND IS NOT MET YET.

    5.Mamata’s(=TMC) activity in Singur suddenly dropped down((((WHICH THEY SHOULD HAVE INTENSIFIED IF THEY ACTUALLY WANTED THE LAND BACK AS THE GOVT WAS IN A BACKFOOT )))). And now they rarely if ever talk about giving back 400 acres.They were more interested in blocking the projects in Nayachar and Thermal projects.

    So , its clear that she did this for CHEAP POLITICS AND CHEAP POLITICS ONLY. There was no “voices” involved. Only votes ,some cheap politica stunts , some cheap politics , were involved(and perhaps,maybe,could be,can be money from rival companies to delay tata’s project to clear their market ).

    She is a hectic politician talking “loose”(Bapi Dhar is notorious criminal )-“lie”(No maoists in West bengal, all Cpim)-“long”(I shall make kolkata london,etc etc) for personal benefit only. No voice except her own enormous one is involved in her works(that also for acheiving her own goals ). This is the truth man, live with it.

  6. Ya right the 400 acres haven’t been returned yet. Mamata has gone on pressing the govt to return the land though. But don’t you worry, once she is in power Singur will be taken care of. Interestingly, the communist government hasn’t divulged the details of their deal with Tata till date.

    The infertile/semi-fertile land theory that you are raising has long been refuted, it was another big fat lie cooked up by the Bengal government.

    That the farmers were unwilling to part with their land is a fact. And while one may call Mamata’s politics as petty or crass, thanks to her we actually came to know this fact.

    In 2011, Bengal is going to get its first woman chief minister. This is the truth that I am going to live with.

  7. The big fat lie is made by TMC and their papers that after construction a land is fertile.Mix some cement and plant in it and you will see what i mean.That land can not be used for farming in decades, unless you are blind.For each construction a base is required that extends deep in the ground,mixing cement and other substances making it infertile, if you do not consider breaking up 5 feet concrete to expose soil.The other lands were also used for construction and subjected to heavy contamination.If you still stay blind then I cant help you .I doubt if you ever farmed.

    And “Mamata gone pressing the govt though” since when man? After the project was cancelled FLATLY they showed that their job is done, otherwise they wont be gone from Singur Within 7 days.They wanted to cancell the project and so they did , the land return was only an issue she was grabbing to do this.Like in Nayachar where, if you saw from beginning, was completely unoccupied except 1 or 2 jhopra of the fishers, And Suddenly DIDI came in with another similar type of COMMITEE to block it and now you see a TMC party office there.

    Do you hear that voice of TMC to return the land of Singur in that intensity and frequency as they did back then?They have clearly withdrawn from the scene after the project was cancelled.

    IF THEY HAD ANY WILL TO RETURN THE LAND, TELL ME WHY THEY WERE GONE FROM SINGUR AFTER THE PROJECT WAS CANCELLED? They should have stayed there and try harder to get it back if they really wanted so.

    They got what they want and so they were out of it. They now only mention ” we continue to fight for” Singur when the issue arises, but in reality , if you open your eyes, and look at the activity graph of TMC about Singur before and after cancellation of the project, you will understand what I mean.

    And that she will return the land once she is CM, There is no provision in the constitution about it(However it does not matter for her as she cares a fig for that.).
    Why there is no provision of will in land acquiring? Cause is then only 1 man can cancell a project as he is not willing to give land.

    When she is in power? Why? She once uttered that she wants to make railway’s factory there. When state govt wanted her to do that and were willing to give the land, she almost stayed mum except telling the same old 1 line coldly ” give back 400 acres”? Why man? If she really wanted to give the land why she did not took it in behalf of railways and then give it back? As CM she says she will give the land back.As CM she has no provision to give the land back according to law.
    So Why not now as railway minister?

    Who “refuted long that infertile semi fertile theory” man? Maybe someone with fertile brain. Well, ,jokes apart, please give me the reference where you got this data that land can be fertile after so much construction. Maybe its some new research. (I would be happy to read it as I am not blind, and well aware that new inventions can prove many things wrong.)

    And your friend corporate honcho is blind about the fact that “was telling me that it’s unacceptable if the government takes away land from farmers just because they are weak. ” If a govt dont take land by force from none more than 50 % of projects would be cancelled In all over India.In other states police shoots in such protests.

    “Personally I would be very happy to see a Tata factory come up here. The state badly needs some big industries. But I’m against forcibly taking away lands from peasants.” It was your idea is not it? Do you think that if the land was not TAKEN then it would be reality and ALL would give the land? In 1000 acres 1 single unwilling can cancell a whole project that way by getting money from a rival company. We dont live in heaven and you must admit the fact that most projects require land …. and often if not always govt HAS TO take land for it ALL OVER INDIA.

    And she already actively participated in attempt of cancelling

    1. Nandigram Project
    2. Singur
    3. Katoa power plant
    4. Dancuni Expressway
    and so on.

    Left parties did the same in the past? So what? What was if done was wrong and what is being done is wrong.
    I have some simple questions to you.
    1. Do you think that if TATA project became a reality west bengal would be benefitted?

    2. Do you agree that the project was cancelled as Mamata was opposing it(and opted for unrealistic demand rather than bettwer compensation)?

    would the project be cancelled if Mamata was not involved at all?

    3. If the answers are yes, then voila! Mamata acted against the interest of west bengal.

    Lefts may be very very bad but at least an Industry was going to come.As she opposed it , its gone. And with it many others who would be afraid for obvious reason.
    Mamata did MUCH MUCH MORE HARM THAN ANY GOOD TO BENGAL BY CANCELLING THE PROJECT, when our states badly needed industries.This is the bitter truth unless you are blind.You cant support industrialization and a woman actively cancelling industrialization both at the same time.

    CM in 2011? Maybe. But that DOES NOT make what she did a right thing.THE PROJECT WONT BE COMING BACK DUDE, ITS GONE.
    She badly hurt the future of west bengal’s industrialisation so I and those want bengal to be industrialized can not forgive her.

  8. So what is your point? The now infertile land is the same land which was fertile before the govt snatched it from the farmers – if that is your point, I do agree with you.

    Now to answer your second last comment (which I just finished reading fully), go have someone lecture you on democracy and democratic rights. That will give you a sound base before we debate this.

  9. Very easy to say, but the thing you miss is most of the people of wb (including you ) wanted the project come true. What do you want to say about democratic rights? The right to cancel a project if a few do not want for whatever reason?

    Well you have it in west bengal.

    Cause definitely more people wanted the project than the people wanted to cancel it.And now, due to our democratic rights, Ms Mamata cancelled it.But remember that those she exploited are in a far worse condition now.They did not take the money, neither they have land, and even if Mamata manages to change constitution to give back their land when and if she becomes CM, they will get an infertile land(“THAT 400 acre”).

    Why do you support blindly? Cant you admit that the project would be good for bengal and is now gone because she interfered ? People in Gujrat thanked Mamata. Why should I praise her for ruining Industrialization here? Cant you see that if she did not do all these , the project would become reality in bengal and more investments would come?Cant you see that the future could be different?

    I am not blind and I am happy that she is talking about reviving Burns and Brethweights, (Though anxious cause ,you know there is a vast difference between talking and actually working, and especially for her as she ordered same quality engines from foreign for more money not giving it to chittaranjan locomotive works who were happy to deliver similer engines at cheaper cost).

    By the way, you have not answered my questions(though you may not, if thats your preference)?

    they were “I have some simple questions to you.
    1. Do you think that if TATA project became a reality west bengal would be benefitted?

    2. Do you agree that the project was cancelled as Mamata was opposing it(and opted for unrealistic demand rather than bettwer compensation)?

    would the project be cancelled if Mamata was not involved at all?”
    By the way, its not “snatching” cause some money was given and most took it.
    If they bought it ,one could refuse to cancell it whole.moreover, lots of Mafiaism would occur if it was bought.(You know land brokers, don’t you?)Besides, non land owning farmers wont get the money(25% of price) which they got as …….as you said ,govt “snatched” it from them.

    Dont be blind man. You may like her, you may vote her, but dont support
    something thats openly wrong.

    ps. Do you know the price that was paid and the yearly income per bigha from those lands?

  10. And please dont say “go attend lectures”. If you dont have enough points to stand for what you want to prove, please say “I dont want to discuss any further.”or”Whatever you say its the communists at fault cause I cant see faults in Mamata” or “I cant debate on this topic any more, go find someone else who can discuss(defend Mamata) better”
    or simply dont comment.

    Please dont take my comments otherwise. You seem to be a smart man, but even the greatest wit cant prove something overtly wrong as gloriously right.


  11. While most of us wanted the project to come true, we quickly saw through the many lies told by the state govt., administrative failure and the sheer audacity of the ruling party and gave Mamata our moral support. Just one example: section 144 was imposed for a month initially in Singur and later extended indefinitely, described as administrative high-handedness and misuse of power by Calcutta High Court. While the state would certainly benefit from the factory (that was the whole point of this post I wrote 2 years ago), it is the utter mismanagement by the state administration that Bengal didn’t have its auto hub.

    The question – as you put it – of Mamata being involved or not involved doesn’t even stand. Let me remind you that this is a democracy.

    P.S.: I have a batchmate from Singur in my medical college. The friend who hails from an agricultural family din’t like the way the state govt was handling it. Whether it was just him or all of Singur that boasted thoughts like this was reflected in the polls that followed there!