Ratan Tata has announced that Tata Motors will move the Nano plant out of Singur. This decision has been taken in the wake of strong protests from the opposition led by Trinomool Congress (TMC) leader Ms. Mamata Banerjee. Mr. Tata very categorically has named the opposition and Mamata Banerjee in particular for the decision. In Singur the farmers have expressed deep regret at this decision and called a protest blockade of the Durgapur Highway to make themselves heard. This is the situation in ground zero as of now.
Like many bloggers I have too taken a stand favoring the factory at Singur and I still believe that a Tata factory in rural Bengal will transform its topography for the good as it has been for Jamshedpur. But then I cannot refrain from criticizing the CPM government’s policies and methods of land acquisition here. See living in Bengal I know more than any outsider the kind of dirty politics the Left has played in West Bengal for the last few decades. Today we are taking a favorable stand towards them only because we are seeing the problem from one dimension.
One one hand there would have been jobs for many youths after the factory would have been set up but then wouldn’t it be better if the government would be more systematic in procuring the land? An example has been set up by the Ambani’s who sought a majority vote from farmers and land owners of an area in Maharashtra before going about acquiring land. The CPM in Bengal have undoubtedly used ruffians, as is their trademark, to take land by force. IN so many decades of rule the party had not the sense to draw up a land map of the state of Bengal. You cannot take land at your whim. The Left now is playing at popular emotions and public support for not the government but the Tata business house. Ratan Tata is highly respected by everyone and that’s why people are sympathizing with him.
The CPM cannot say that it has supported industrialization in Bengal. For that matter we cannot say any political party has thought for the betterment of Bengal. The politics of bandhs and dharnas and unionization has closed most jute mills and factories of Bengal. In more recent times I can quote the opposition of departmental and convenient stores by the Left parties in Bengal. The Forward Bloc, the biggest supporter of the CPM government in Bengal, had recently tried to prevent issuing an agricultural license to the German company Metro Cash and Carry. The company in question is another store that will stock agricultural products which they’ll buy from the farmers. Forward Bloc say they always protested issuing license to such departmental stores as it will be detrimental to the corner grocer store and the road side illegal vendor. Only after the intervention of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, after the German Ambassador threatened dire consequences and Lufthansa said they would exit,Â did the Forward Bloc controlled Agriculture Board relent. So my point is that this sudden holier than thou attitude of the CPM is really a farce.
The CPM and TMC are all actually two sides of the same coin. They are fighting a political battle here before the elections and the Tata’s have been caught in the crossfire. When Bengal today thinks about the Singur problem let her remember to look at both sides of the dispute and then voice an opinion. Lets not condemn what happened but analyze and see how the government could have avoided this fiasceo from occuring. In doing so lets keep in mind the destructive politics the Left has played in West Bengal and that it upholds the same bandh centered tactics even today.