Farmers block train movement to protest Singur land acquisition

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Singur, Aug 2 (UNI) A 500-strong mob, led by local Trinamool Congress leader Tapan Dasgupta, blocked train movement in the Howrah-Bardhaman section for about two hours today to demand return of the land acquired 'forcibly' for the Tata Motors small car project at Singur.

Dhaniakhali police station Officer Incharge Biswajeet Ghoshal said farmers raised a blockade at the Belmuri level crossing from 0900 hours to 1100 hours following which the Howrah-bound Rajdhani Express, Benaras-Howrah Bibhuti Express and several local trains were delayed.

Later, police and GRP personnel managed to lift the blockade and the train movement was resumed.

The agitators also protested against the nosedive in prices of potatoes which was resulting in huge losses for the farmers.

The Singur Krishi Jami Raksha Committee (SKJRC) announced that it would organise a rally throughout the Hooghly district tomorrow to demand the return of the land acquired for the Tata Motors project.

They would also organise road blockades throughout the district from 1000 hours to 1200 hours tomorrow in support of their demand.

The outfit had put up posters and banners at various areas, asking the workers and other service and construction engineers arriving here from outside, not to work for the project.

Meanwhile, the Hooghly district committee of the CPI(M) announced to organise a rally this evening in support of the small car project.

Singur CPI(M) leader Dibakar Das said, ''The people of this region want industrialisation. The Tata Motors project is being opposed only by those who do not want the rapid development of this area.'' But SKJRC convener Becharam Manna said the movement would be intensified unless the land, 'forcibly' acquired from the farmers, was returned.

Hooghly Superintendent of Police (SP) Rajeev Mishra said huge contingents of security forces had been deployed in and around the Tata Motors project site as well as on all the roads leading up to the factory.

''Altogether 800 police personnel have been deployed to provide security to the workers. Besides, plain clothes policemen have been patrolling the entire region. Security at the Singur and Kamarkundu railway stations has also been stepped up for the safety of the workforce arriving here from various parts of the state,'' the SP added.

Reports have been pouring in of the workers and security guards at the Tata Motors being allegedly assualted and threatened by the SKJRC and Trinamool activists.

On Tuesday, construction engineer Manish Khatua was left critically injured after he was severely assaulted. The SKJRC and Trinamool cadres were also allegedly threatening the workforce to leave the place immediately or ''face the consequences''.

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