Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Pyrrhic victory

Late and long post.....

Well, RNT has decided to pull out of Singur. Momota Banerjee is celebrating Durga Pujo at Kalighat and has proclaimed that she will start an agitation after the Pujo to return the land to the farmers. Nice thought. But Ms. Banerjee or her advisors, in their infinite wisdom, haven't given a thought on the state of the land. Agriculture flourishes on land which is fertile. Not land which has been levelled and graded. Dug up and concrete poured into it. The Singur area was a marsh land, so quantities of fly ash have been dumped on it to make it fit for construction. Have these intellectually superior people given a thought on how are those unwilling land losers going to start farming again?

My guess is, as part of her election ploy, now that she knows she has rocked her best boat for an election victory, she would ask the Tata's and the the govt to return the land in the condition that it was taken. Meaning, that all the clean up operation etc would have to be done. She has to try this plank now for her election. And public memory being as short as it is, Momota didi will be the Messiah for those whose land was forcefully acquired and then forcefully returned.

Land acquisition has another dimension. How will you return the land of those people who willingly parted with their land? They got their compensation cheques, which they encashed and spent the money. Will they again have to forcefully buy back their land? Or will they see their land going to someone else. If the latter, then it is nothing but a ploy by the Tirnamul to grab land. Good land. And vast areas of it. Which they will later deem to be unfit for agriculture and sell at a much higher rate for industrialization. Do I smell a rat somewhere? Or is it only me who thinks that this is a ploy?

As for the buy back policy, how will a poor farmer who suddenly got a windfall amount and spent it on a new house, a daughters marriage or a new bike, gather that amount required for him to get his land back? And if the Tirnamul pressurizes the government to give the land back gratis, it is the tax payer's money which is being used. Why should you and I pay for a folly that is entirely Momotadidi's? Will the govt. have the guts to bill the Tirnamul Congress and Momotadidi for the land and then return it? Or even better, ask Momota didi to come up with the money and then transfer the land to her. She can then return it or keep it as she chooses. If she is such a champion of the poor she would return it gratis. The same way she expects the govt. to do so now, difference it would be her money, not yours or mine.

And for the people of Singur, and West Bengal, when was the last time any politician did anything that was good for the people?

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