Singur farmers in a spot over unplanned land acquisition

Singur (West Bengal), Aug 28 (ANI): Farmers, who gave up their lands for the small-car manufacturing project of Tata Motors in West Bengal's Singur town, are now suffering the fallout of unplanned land acquisition.

As a part of the drive to acquire land, farmers were promised jobs in the unit.

But now that factory production is stalled and the unit itself lies incomplete, the former farmers are being refused employment with the company, in spite of the fact that they even got training for the same.

Now, villagers of Singur say that the acquisition process could have been carried out in a more planned, negotiated and amicable manner if the authorities had shown a little foresight.

"I gave up my land for the setting up of the factory, and in return, they promised me a job. They gave me training for the job. I got the job of an electrician. But as the factory got shut down, we were sent to Pune for six months of training. Now it has been closed and they said, 'As the factory has been closed, we don't need employees. If the factory starts, then only we will employ you.' So, right now I am unemployed," said Tarun Sau, a resident of Singur.

Villagers who had got jobs with Tata Motors have become unemployed after the project was dropped.

"We were told to give our land. We gave it up ourselves. We got money. Two family members got jobs. First they had training and then were told to join work. My husband was just about to join when Tata withdrew its project. We were saddened. My husband became very depressed. Now there is no job," said Malati Sau, another resident of Singur.

The locals say that they are suffering from the vested interests of politicians, who have gained from the agitation against the project, as now they have neither their lands nor the promised jobs.

They feel that the matter of compensations and jobs could have been settled before Tata Motors went ahead with the huge land acquisition process.

The acquired land in Singur lies tied up in a legal mess now. It now lies unused, no longer fertile, and with no project in sight.

Tata Motors on October 3, 2008 pulled out of West Bengal, where violent protests by farmers, unhappy with the compensation for their land, had forced the firm to suspend work on its factory for over a month.

Tata then decided to build a plant near Gujarat's Sanand city, one of the most industrialized states of India, on 1,100 acres. by Rick Sundar (ANI)

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