"I won't give up my land," says 48-year old Loknath in an article that appeared in Mumbai newspaper DNA. He knows that some boro karkhana (large industry) will come up, for which he has to give up his farmland, his sole source of income.
The story goes that the CPM-led Left Front Government of West Bengal is set to acquire the multi-crop lands at Singur to make way for a small car factory. A move that will leave many farmers like Loknath landless. It's not just the farmers-- apparently this move will render more than ten thousand local inhabitants including farmers, sharecroppers and daily labourers jobless.
A group of scientists from various research institutes have personally visited the area and declared that it is beyond any doubt that the earmarked lands are extremely fertile and vast majority of those grow multi-crops throughout the year, and a group of research scientists from the Center for Studies on Social Sciences (CSSS), Kolkata have tried to capture this in a documentary film “Abad Bhumi” (Right to Land). They have also prepared an online petition that addresses the Governer of West Bengal. Don't know how much it'll help though.
Yet another example of the much-hyped "Globalization" eating up our resources and not accounting for it? Probably. But we may forget that soon.
As we already seem to have forgotten that the Colas have been sucking out our groundwater and ruining our villages (they fill the soil with toxics in return as a token of their gratitude) -- be it Mehendiganj in Uttar Pradesh (where Coca Cola draws out more than 250,000 liters of underground water per day and dumps toxic wastes) or Plachimada in Kerala (where the plant was shut-down once following a court order and is operational again now). In Shivaganga, Tamil Nadu, people's protest prevented a plant of Coke being set up in a region that was already facing water scarcity. There are silimar stories of struggles from Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, Patna and Hajipur in Bihar, Satharia Jainpur, Simhachavar in Ballia, Hathras in Aligarh, Dasna–Masoori in Ghaziabad, Bijnor in U.P., Badoli and Panipat in Haryana, Mandideep and Bhopal in M.P., Ahmedabad and Herea in Gujarat, Kudus and Thane in Maharashtra. Now the issue is whether the drinks have pesticides in it (Bahu Tulsi and Aamir Khan are assuring us they are safe) or whether having pesticides is a non-issue as even mother's milk has it, or whether it is right to compare Cola with Mother's milk.
* * *
[Some details and updates on the Singur story at PCFS page:
- Forced Eviction of Farming Communities in Singur, West Bengal (and other links)
Also see: Tata Motors defends site selection at Singur, Times of India, 21 October 2006.
CPM defends the move: All India Kisan Sabha (CITU) leader and Industries Minister in People's Democracy]