Kolkata : Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee dubbed the compensation package for the farmers of Singur announced by the West Bengal government in lieu of the land acquired for the Tata Motors project as "a passage for the Tatas".
"This is not a package for the people. The Left government while dealing with foreigners and industrialists has forgotten how to work out a package for the people. This is a passage for the Tatas," she said sarcastically.
"The package stinks and if they want to train the youths as drivers (as mentioned in the package) they should do that at home. The farmers of Singur drive tractors and they already know driving," she said and announced observance of Kalankamochan Divas (Wipe Out the Shame Day) at the base of Mahatma Gandhi's statue in Kolkata on June 21, the day Left Front completes 30 years in power.
West Bengal Industry Minister Nirupam Sen Tuesday ruled out returning land to the unwilling farmers in Singur but announced an elaborate economic rehabilitation package for the people whose plots were acquired for the Tata Motors small car factory.
"Land cannot be returned you know – neither legally nor practically," Sen told a press conference here, urging the opposition to not be ruffled but cooperate with the industrialisation process.
A total of 997 acres of land in Singur, about 40 km from Kolkata in Hooghly district, has 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.
Referring to the unrest at Purushottampur in Burnpur area of Burdwan district over Indian Iron and Steel Company (IISCO) expansion, Banerjee said they were not against the expansion and had campaigned for the same but were opposed to the poor compensation package offered to the landowners.
"Steel Authority of India (SAIL) had given Rs.1.3 million per acre of land to the government but the latter in turn was paying only a little over Rs.400,000 to the land losers while keeping a cut of the money to themselves," she alleged.