Singur (WB), June 10: Farmers whose land was acquired to set up a small car factory in Singur today applauded passing of an ordinance by the West Bengal government to return land to unwilling farmers. As soon as the news spread last night, the farmers, mostly belonging to villages in the Beraberi-Purbapara and Gopalnagar-Ghospara clusters, decided to celebrate the development the next day.
Their faces and hair painted green, the farmers cheered Trinamool Congress leader and convenor of the Krishi Jami Raksha Committee, which spearheaded the anti-land acquisition stir in Singur that had helped Mamata Banerjee ascend to power, as he addresed a gathering of unwilling land-owners this morning.
Manna said he and others would now embark on preparing a list of farmers who had refused to receive compensation cheques from the erstwhile government to be submitted to industries minister Partha Chatterjee.
Farmer Manik Das of Beraberi, who had taken part in the land stir and whose six and a half bighas were acquired, said he was happy that their movement had been justified and thanked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her ‘kindness' towards them.
“It was only because of her single-minded pursuit of returning land to land-losers like him that justice was done,” said another farmer Ratan Ghosh who said he had eked out a living by selling milk and engaging occasionally in day-labour.
However, most of them felt that the land should be made cultivable before being returned as the top soil had been rendered unfit for any agricultural activity due to construction work.
The Hooghly district magistrate, Sripriya Rangarajan, said she would proceed with returning land whenever she received direction from the government. Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra, who met Governor M K Narayanan, observed that the ordinance cannot be promulgated while the House was in session.
Emerging from Raj Bhavan, Mishra, who led a Left delegation, told reporters, “When Assembly is in session, an ordinance cannot be promulgated. A bill has to be moved.” He, however, said they have nothing to say if the state government wanted to amend the law to return land in Singur.
He said the Governor gave them a patient hearing and hoped that he would take steps in this regard according to the Constitution. PTI