|TWISTS & TURNS
11.30 am: Governor visits
Mamata, requests her to end fast
2.30 pm: Trinamul men strip down to waist and march
4.00: Party announces rail and road blockade from 2 to 3 pm on Friday
4.30: CM sends letter to Mamata, requesting her to stop fast
5.00: Mamata calls letter “meaningless”
6.15: Excited Mamata says she has got papers to show 387 acres taken in Singur without consent
6.30: Papers taken to governor
6.55-7.00: Industries minister and CM meet governor at Raj Bhavan
Calcutta, Dec. 21: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and industries minister Nirupam Sen spent almost an hour and a half at Raj Bhavan to convince governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi that Mamata Banerjee’s claim of “forcible” acquisition of 387 acres in Singur was untrue.
Earlier, Mukul Roy, MP and Trinamul Congress general secretary, had submitted a set of documents to the governor which, he claimed, were affidavits from farmers saying they had not given their consent to the acquisition of these 387 acres.
Gandhi, who met Mamata this morning for the second time since she began her fast, urged her to call it off. The develop- ment comes two days before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the state.
In a statement issued after the meeting with Bhattacharjee and Sen, the governor said he had “given them a set of documents on the subject that had been furnished to him on behalf of Smt. Banerjee”.
Neither Bhattacharjee nor Sen was available for comment. CPM sources said the “documents” that had been handed over to the governor were not affidavits, as claimed by Trinamul, but plain paper with the names of farmers many of whom had given their consent in writing to the government to acquire their land.
“Today, the industries minister handed over to the governor a preliminary document detailing how land was acquired with the consent of farmers,” said Benoy Konar, CPM state secretariat member.
“In a couple of days, the governor will be handed a bigger document containing the list of farmers who had given their consent, along with copies of their consent letters and proof that they had also received the cheques for handing over their land.”
The government will also furnish evidence that most of these farmers had received an additional 10 per cent for handing over land. “All these will also be published and released for the public to examine,” he said.
The government claims that of the 997.11 acres required for the Tata project, it had received consent for 920 acres, with another 34 being vested land. It was only for the remaining 40-odd acres that consent was still awaited, it has said.
Konar said: “There is no effort to work out a formula to come to a middle ground with Trinamul on land acquisition. Nor is any committee going to be set up to look into the land acquisition.”
The CPM sources said the governor tried to explore with Bhattacharjee the possibility of “accommodating” Mamata in any way, especially by providing alternative land to farmers who were unwilling to part with their holdings.
The government does not look favourably on the option for fear of creating a precedent that could cause enormous trouble as it goes about acquiring the over 40,000 acres it needs for various projects in the near future.
The Raj Bhavan statement said Gandhi visited Mamata again because of his “serious concern over the impact on her health of her prolonged fast”.
He told the Trinamul leader that it was “imperative that a dialogue take place on the balancing of land use for agriculture with land conversion for industry” and for evolving long-term norms so that this does not lead to “avoidable displacement and human distress”.