Singur Saga Comes Full Circle, Mamata Banerjee Starts Returning Land To Farmers

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103 acres were returned today; remaining Singur land will be returned by November 10.


Kolkata:  The Singur saga came full circle today with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee beginning to hand back land to farmers that Supreme Court ruled was acquired illegally by the Left Front government 10 years ago.

Of the 997 acres of land acquired for Tata's Nano factory, 103 acres were returned to 298 farmers today. The rest will be returned by November 10, Ms Banerjee said. Factory shed on 65 acres still have to be removed.   

Around 2 pm, Ms Banerjee arrived and, instead of heading for a large podium built in the middle of the fields, she walked straight to the fields with some farmers and sprayed mustard seeds on the ground.  

"This is historic. We never thought this day would really come and the CM would return our land. We will remember this forever," said farmer Mahadeb Das who got part of his land back today.

Farmer Naresh Ghosh said, "I always had faith in Madam." Madam? "I mean Didi," he smiled.

Singur was Ms Banerjee's stepping stone to power. She began protests soon after the Left government acquired the land in 2006. Forcible, she called it, and fasted and protested at the factory gate for weeks.  

"The Singur land movement will be a landmark in the world," she said.

Bauls, Bengal's singing minstrels, burst into song in Ms Banerjee's praise.

But mountains of metal scrap lined the exit from the event, scrap from pulled down factory sheds. CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty lamented, "Dynamite was used to blow up the factory. It's a blow to industry, a blow to employment in the state."

The factory is now a closed chapter.  A new history has begun. Farmers were given gifts of seeds and fertilisers to turn the clock back in Singur to 2006.

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