Failed Nano project still dogs Singur poll candidates

Last Updated: Thu, Apr 21, 2011 05:25 hrs

Singur: Five years after the Tatas abandoned their small car factory in favour of Gujarat frustrated by the land acquisition controversy, politics in Singur Assembly constituency still revolves around the failed project.

The abandoned factory shed, which stands a mute witness to the tumult that the place witnessed in 2006 marking the downhill journey of the Left Front, is the only talking point of the 2,05,434 voters, who are mostly rural, in this constituency going to the poll on May 3.

Will any factory come up in the abandoned site, or unwilling farmers will get back the 400 acres of land they had parted with? The question is being thrown at CPI-M candidate Asit Das and Trinamool Congress' Rabindra Nath Bhattacahrya, who is seeking re-election.

Asit Das said, "The people here now have realised that nobody can return the land and therefore will support our party this time."

The Trinamool candidate, however, refuted Das' statement, saying, "We fought here in the peasant's interest. We will return the 400 acres to their rightful owners after forming government in the state."

Questions are also raised by many whether the 400 acres, if returned, could be at all fit for cultivation as the construction activity has left spoilt the soil fertility.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee during a recent interaction with the city's intellectuals admitted that he had made a mistake in handling Singur by relying on the 'sense of responsibility' of the main opposition party and promised such mistake would not recur.

Some of the unwilling farmers, who have refused to take their compensation cheques till now, still believed that their land would be returned once Trinamool Congress formed the government.

"We hope only Didi (Mamata) can return it (the land)," Bhuban Bagui, a farmer, said.

But many marginal farmers who had given their land and hoped that the Nano factory would give them a better living, were now facing poverty.

Bikash Pakira of Joymollah village, who had given land for the Tata project, is one such case.

"I had taken extensive training in the Tatamotor's Pune factory and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur. I had a dream, but it lay in tatters and I find it difficult to maintain my family," he said.

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