The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CM seeks Singur connect

Calcutta, May 28: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today got down to the task of communicating the compensation package to farmers at Singur where the Tata Motors plant is expected to come up.

As Bhattacharjee held a meeting with local MP Rupchand Pal in the presence of Jyoti Basu to discuss the compensation package, the farmers organised themselves.

Nearly 1,000 farmers, who attended a rally at Pargopalnagar near Singur last night, formed Krishijami Banchao Committee (Save Farmland Committee).

They vowed not to part with their agricultural land even against “a hefty compensation package”.

The Tatas would need 1,000 acres to put up their small-car plant. A team that went to the site last week had met with protests from farmers.

“We have come to know that the land is not all mono crop. Two to three crops are grown on a vast part. Taking this into account, an attractive compensation package will be given to farmers,” Basu said.

Pal, who was happy with the meeting, said farmers would be given 30 per cent more than the market value of their land. If they hand over the land “spontaneously” through negotiations, they will be paid an additional 10 per cent.

This is the standard compensation package worked out by the government.

It will now be the responsibility of Pal and other party leaders to convey the elements of the compensation package to farmers at Singur.

The Krishak Sabha, the peasants’ wing of the CPM, is already on the job. “We have started small group meetings to make farmers understand that they will benefit more if they give land and take compensation,” said Balai Sabui, one of its leaders.

On the other side, however, a movement is building up against the project. The committee farmers set up last night intends to go in a deputation to the block development officer of Singur on June 1 to protest against land acquisition.

“Later we shall organise a mass convention where Trinamul Congress MLA Rabindranath Bhattacharjee will be present,” said Karna Ghosh, who heads the committee with Ananta Bali.

The party is solidly behind Bhattacharjee’s government. CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said he was confident of the government’s ability to handle the issue.

“We are aware of the fact that Tata Motors is going to set up an automobile factory. For that land will have to be acquired. We are confident that the state government will be able to tackle the land acquisition issue,” he said.

Left Front chairman and CPM state secretary Biman Bose said at a rally: “Land- owners will be adequately compensated and there will be no problem in setting up the car project.”

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