Why would Singur farmers accept land elsewhere: Basu


Kolkata : While the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) debates a possible solution to the Singur land imbroglio, patriarch Jyoti Basu Friday said there was no reason the farmers displaced by the Tata Motors project would accept alternative land at far-off places.

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"There is not much alternative land available in the area (at Singur). There are plots in other places but why would they (farmers) go there," Basu told reporters after the party's state-level meeting attended by Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Industry Minister Nirupam Sen.

However, the veteran leader was hopeful of a solution.

"A solution is possible and Industry Minister Nirupam Sen is working it out. There are legal points too in the whole exercise," he said.

Basu had held talks with Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee Monday and assured the firebrand leader of a possibility of reorganisation of land given to Tata Motors.

However, the party failed to arrive at any solution in Friday's meeting and sources said the land given to Tata would not be returned to unwilling farmers at any cost.

Basu said the Nandigram peace initiative was also being discussed but "it also depends on the other side (Trinamool)".

Earlier, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya had welcomed the meeting between Basu and Banerjee to pave the way for an all-party peace initiative on trouble-torn Nandigram.

On May 24, the much-publicised all-party peace talks had collapsed after an angry walkout by Banerjee over using the word "genocide" in the draft proposal of the meeting. The CPI-M had refused to term the March 14 police firing in Nandigram as "genocide".

But the Basu-Mamata talks rekindled hopes of a political consensus on Nandigram and Singur, with Basu promising Mamata to look into her arguments on the Tata car factory and Nandigram violence.

Over 997 acres of land in Singur, about 40 km from Kolkata in Hooghly district, have been chosen by Tata Motors for its small car project. The issue has triggered a violent face-off between the government and farmers led by civil society groups and parties like the Trinamool Congress.

While some farmers committed suicide in Singur, at least 21 people have been killed, hundreds injured and several women raped in the continuing violence in Nandigram, about 150 km from here, since January over possible land acquisition for a special economic zone (SEZ) project in collaboration with Indonesia's Salim Group.