| Farmland to factory: Policemen sit on a field that has been acquired for the Tata Motors plant. Villagers, some of whom ran onto the field in their enthusiasm and were shooed away, listen to the leaders in the background. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Calcutta, Nov. 29: Two days after saying she was willing to talk to the Tatas, Mamata Banerjee trained her guns on them for “playing with the lives of poor farmers”.
“I want to tell the Tatas that they might have crores of rupees and resources but they should not play with the lives of poor farmers of Singur for whom land is the only source of livelihood,” the Trinamul Congress chief told a rally at Esplanade.
She had so far been saying she was not opposed to the Tatas, but the government which allowed them to build the car factory in Singur, about 40 km from Calcutta.
Both the Tata Motors brass and the government had, however, clarified that the company had picked the site from several proposed by the state.
With her supporters, Mamata courted arrest today.
“I want to challenge the Tata Motors managing director for asserting that he would ensure that the project sees the light of the day. Does he know the resentment of farmers'” she said.
She said other “like-minded parties would join her agitation”. So far, only the Party for Democratic Socialism — formed by CPM rebels — and Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party, which has negligible presence in Bengal, have responded. Congress leaders, whom Mamata had invited for today’s rally, did not turn up.
Mamata said: “Let everyone know that 10,000 Trinamul workers will guard Singur and prevent the Tatas from setting up their factory. The company will not be allowed to flourish at the cost of poor farmers…. I will resist the Tata project with all my might’’.
Planting potato seeds on the plot acquired for Tata Motors on Monda, Mamata had said she had “nothing against the Tatas...but against the chief minister, who is misleading people”.