Singur will get industries, says Mamata
Mamata Banerjee on Friday said in Singur— the epicentre of her anti-land acquisition movement that had catapulted her to power in Bengal — that the area would soon get “a lot of industries” before adding that her government would always strive to strike a balance between industry and agriculture.
“Several agro-based industries are coming up here in Singur…. A railway coach manufacturing company will also come up in Uttarpara. The region between Dankuni and East Burdwan will be dotted with industries as thousands of crores will be invested here in the coming days. Your future will flourish,” the chief minister said while addressing around 12,000 people at Bajemelia health-centre ground in Singur of Hooghly district.
Although the chief minister mentioned a few projects in her speech, her promise of industrialisation was not backed by any specifics.
She, however, had to speak about industries from Singur, said a senior officer, referring to the chief minister’s repeated assertions after coming to power in 2021 that she would focus on industry.
Lack of large scale investment in the manufacturing sector — believed to be the major source of employment — in Bengal since 2011 is often referred as the Achilles Heel of the Trinamul government and Opposition parties hold Mamata’s anti-land acquisition movement responsible for low industrial activity in the state.
“The fact that she is keen on getting industry in Bengal has been mentioned by her so many times in recent times.... The assertion from Singur gives a hint that she is serious,” said a source.
Sources in Nabanna said that her forecast hinged on the assumption that the Centre’s Amritsar-Dankuni freight corridor and the three industrial corridors — Dankuni-Haldia, Dankuni-Kalyani and Dankuni-Raghunathpur — that the state would create would boost industrial activities in the region.
Aware that the region she mentioned as the beneficiary of industrialisation — parts of Hooghly and East Burdwan —was also one of the most fertile zones in the state, she was quick to add that agriculture would co-exist with industry.
“There will be agriculture on one side and industries on the other side.... Industry and agriculture will grow simultaneously in Bengal,” the chief minister added.
Mamata was speaking after inaugurating a flyover in Hooghly’s Kamarkundu.
“We were beaten up and driven out from Singur BDO office during our 14 days of demonstration here.... I can recall the time when leaders from Burdwan, Bankura used to bring vegetables and food grains for us during our protests. The women of Singur used to send their home-cooked food to the protesters. I can’t forget those days,” said an emotional Mamata, taking 82-year-old Saraswati Das, a widow, by her side to explain her contribution to the movement.
“We used to call her (Saraswati) — Matangini Hazra of Singur. She used to attend our protest rallies every day during the time of struggle,” she said.
The local Trinamul leaders said Mamata’s assurance on industries was a significant political message as a lot had changed in the area over the 14 years since Tata Motors left Singur and a majority of farmers, who took part in Mamata’s movement, were no longer averse to the idea of selling off their land for industry.
“A large number of farmers, whose land turned unfit for cultivation, want industries now. Didi clearly hinted that Singur would also get industries. It is very good news for a large number of farmers,” said Dudh Kumar Dhara, a leader of Trinamul’s anti-land acquisition movement and now a panchayat samiti member in Singur.
A special court of the National Investigation Agency in Calcutta on Friday sentenced Mohammed Mosiuddin alias Musa to life imprisonment for plotting ISIS-type killings of foreign tourists in the city, particularly those from the US, Russia and the UK.
The charge-sheet filed by the NIA mentions that Musa was plotting ISIS-style execution of foreign tourists, including those visiting the Mother House in Calcutta. Musa was a Birbhum resident.