Singur Saga – Ta ‘Ta

25th Sept 08

Every coin has two sides they say.

Finally it seems Tata’s are pulling out their project from Singur. I don’t know if its right or wrong but I would like to bring to notice the two sides of the coin in this entire episode. I am not on either side as I don’t know whats right. Dear reader this is for you to judge.

Tata’s going out of West Bengal not only means a loss to Tata but it spoils the image of West Bengal among corporate India. Already Infosys and Satyam have announced that they would stay away from WB. This cannot be good for the state can it?? The Industries would generate employment and investments for a state surely they don’t want it to go away. This was not a hazardous plant that would have harmed the WB ecologically.

What Mamata has achieved amidst the whole Singur saga is unrivalled popularity in the rurals in WB, who incidentally are the biggest vote bank. The urbans are never electionally reliable as they seldom are in those numbers plus lots don’t vote.

Where the Bengal government failed was to ensure that the land loosers were not only compensated but they would also be given some sort of employment or given some means to earn even after being compensated for the land loss. The lack of transparency in the entire procedure has allowed the locals to be misguided.

I understand that for corporates it doesn’t make sense to employ land loosers as they would rather take up efficient staff and only the optimum labour. However there are means of getting the land loosers to provide contractutal services to the plant etc. The government had to ensure this a lot earlier. But they were slow in acting on this and did not probably push the industry big wig enough. Once the protests started, Mamta Banerjee took over the voice of the people and it seemed that she had more control than the Chief minister in WB. The violent attacks on the plants also meant the skilled and superior employees of Tata Motors weren’t willing to go to Singur.

I am not justifying that the lands should never be sold. Its very easy to sit in your dressing room watching TV and say that if you want industries in your state you have to sacrifice some part of land and people must sell and go away. Really its so easy to say that. For a moment just take this case on self and try and think. If tomorrow an industrialist comes and asks your entire colony to empty as he wants to put in a company. Each house here costs 25 lakhs, where as he is offering you 35 lakhs are you ready to move out??? Not sure eh!! Think again the answer from most of you will be no, I wont move out. Also please take note this is your residence, you don’t earn from this. You can easily move out and buy a new house. The land losers are farmers who earn their living from the farms. So even if they get good prices, if the uneducated farmers are not helped to properly relocate and rehabilitate they would probably lose all the money in a little time and that would be a nightmarish situation. The responsibility lies with the Government to ensure they are properly compensated and relocated and also provided means of earning livelihood.

Because the government failed to provide the assurances, guidance and know how to the locals and went on a land acquiring spree to bring the Tata project to their state today they face a Mamta Banerjee who is breathing fire on the state government. The Tata’s are going which is probably a loss for the State and the people of Singur. The Tata’s will also be losing a lot of money and their Chairman’s dream project delayed!!

Don’t know who is the gainer in all this. The Tata’s?? The farmers of Singur??

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