The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CM shows baton to Singur sceptics
- Police action to foil land opposition

Calcutta, Aug. 17: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today decided to initiate police action to ‘‘foil the politically-motivated opposition’’ to land acquisition in Singur in Hooghly district.

The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of the CPM state secretariat this morning.

“The government wants to put counter-pressure on the Trinamul Congress-backed farmers, who are opposed to the land acquisition. It does not want to give any mileage to them,” a district official said.

Senior police officials in Hooghly said they were aware of the “government’s plan”.

“We were expecting an FIR to be lodged by the government employees who were obstructed by the Krishi Jami Banchao Committee on August 14 when they had gone to serve notices for the hearing of farmers’ objections to land acquisition for the Tata project,” an officer said.

A complaint was lodged late tonight, but it was treated as a mass petition, not an FIR, as 25 people had signed it.

In Calcutta, senior CPM leaders said the chief minister made it clear that it was not possible to wait indefinitely as the Tatas were piling pressure.

“Most farmers have volunteered to give up their land. But there is some politically-motivated opposition. The instigators cannot be spared and the government will take adequate measures against them, and that includes police action. We can’t wait indefinitely. Otherwise, the efforts towards industrialisation and development will go astray,’’ CPM leader Benoy Konar said.

Cola directive

The government will ask the Pepsi and Coca-Cola bottling plants in the state to use surface water instead of ground water, which is believed to contain pesticides, Konar said.

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