IT WAS a careful balancing act by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday. On the one hand, she celebrated ‘victory day’, as she handed over parchas or land documents and cheques to farmers in Singur. On the other hand, she announced that her government would sign an MoU with the Tatas tomorrow for setting up an ITI in the state, and had also invited Samsung and Raymonds to set up industries.
“We want both faming as well as industries. We want the two things to go hand in hand. So my government will ensure that farm land is protected and farmers are given agrarian incentives, while we also provide impetus to industries,” she said, addressing a rally here.
She also announced that September 14 would be celebrated as “Singur Utsav’’, to mark the victory of the ‘andolan’ against the acquisition of farm land, launched in 2006. Last month, the Supreme Court quashed the CPM-led West Bengal government’s land acquisition for Tata Motors’ Nano plant in Singur.
“We are to distribute 800 parchas and cheques… The Supreme Court has given us a deadline of 10 weeks… We have started the process and will complete it in eight weeks,” said Banerjee. She claimed that since the Supreme Court’s order, her government had already prepared the parchas of all 9,117 farmers whose land was taken.
“We have to ensure that the land is cultivable… I have initiated the process of constructing a check dam and some tubewells. The soil fertility is being checked. We will provide fertilisers and seeds. We will set up a demonstration centre in Singur so that you can learn new techniques of farming. We will set up kisan banks from which you can get loans,’’ she said.
She also announced that the aid provided to Singur farmersc would continue till they start cultivation. “We will also give each of you an additional Rs 10,000 to invest in your land. But if there are fraudulent cases, we will register FIRs,’’ she said.
“I will make sure that land is never forcibly acquired by the government. If someone wants to sell their land, that is their personal matter. There are projects which have been held up in the state because plots of land have come in the way. But we are negotiating. Nobody will ever force you to give up your land,’’ she said.
But, she said, the government would also push for industrialisation for the sake of “the younger generation”. “For that, I invite industrialists to invest in Bengal. There is no fear, we have plenty of land. We have created massive land banks. As of this moment, we have 1,000 acres of land which we can give you immediately for setting up industries and factories,’’ she said.
“I will also push for setting up manufacturing industries. I am keen on service-oriented employment-generating industries like textiles, agro-industries, food processing, coal, gas and jewellery. I believe that both farming and industries can go hand in hand, they are not exclusive of each other,’’ she said.