Monday, January 08, 2007

CPM cadres raid Nandigram, butcher farmers resisting landgrab

NandigramA farmer from Nandigram keeps a look out for CPM lumpens and goons. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya.

Here is a full report on what exactly happened
CPM cadres raid Nandigram
8 dead; TMC, Cong call for bandh today

Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, January 7
A group of CPM cadres, armed with automatic rifles and other weapons and wearing police uniforms, raided Nandigram village last night and gunned down at least six farmers in accordance to the party’s suddenly adopted policy of applying force against the Krishi Bachaoo Committee, opposing the land transfer to Indonesia’s Salim group.

In the clashes that followed between the two groups, two CPM workers were also killed. Over 12 were severely injured either by gunshots or blasts and they had been admitted to different hospitals in Midnapore town and Kharagpur, where the condition of seven was stated to be critical.

The villagers killed included Biswajit Maiti, Bhudeb Mondal, Sk. Salim, Bharat Mondal, Sankar Samanta and Bishnu Maiti.

According to official reports, the CPM workers encircled Nandigram village around midnight and attacked the farmers assembled in the Garchakraberia, Sonachura and Tekhali bazaar areas. The attacks were retaliated and soon followed an armed clash between the two groups.

Oddly enough, there was no police force posted around the place at the time of the incident as it had been withdrawn earlier following the decision of the all-party meeting in the morning.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC), Congress, SUCI and several other parties have givev a call for Bangla bandh tomorrow demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and the imposition of President’s rule in the state.

Meanwhile, Mr Bhattacharjee, who was busy today negotiating with a Dubai-based industrialist, Sheikh Suleman, for an investment proposal at Kulpi in the Sunderbans where some 640 acres would be needed for the project,
regretted the incident at Nandigram but reiterated that the industrial expansion programme would continue.

The incident was an outcome of a provocation call to the party cadres by Mr Benoy Konar, senior central committee member, who is also a prominent leader of the party’s Kishan Front, for confronting the unwilling farmers and their supporters with force for ensuring an easy transferring of 10,000 acres there to Salim industries.

He said their policy would now be “gun for gun and lathis for lathis”, alleging that some Naxalites and the branded criminals had been behind the farmers’ agitations who needed to be firmly tackled. Mr Konar had asked the Left front partners like the CPI, RSP and the Forward Bloc either to support the government or quit.

Leaders of the three major front partners, namely the CPI, RSP and the FB demanded that the government should immediately stop “land grabbing policy” and hold all-party talks and adopt a decision on the future land acquiring for industries.

Ms Mamata Banerjee, who has been recuperating at a nursing home, and Mr Pradip Bhattacharyya, working WBPCC president, squarely blamed the chief minister for acting as an agent of the capitalists and held him responsible for the innocent killing in the Nandigram village.



  1. Exeggerated propoganda has always been your strength. Why do you peopole excite the villagers and make them fodder for further hyping up your propoaganda?

  2. Exaggerated propaganda has been the strength of government. Nobody needs to excite the villagers. Villagers are fully aware whether eviction from their own land is good for themselves or not.
    There are people who have been self-fooling themselves by considering 'truth' as something what government said. I can only feel pity for them. Sorry.

  3. Please read this article published in Frontline magazine about the Tata SEZ in Singur and tell me how is a common man supposed to believe that there is something wrong happening in Singur?

  4. I have just read the article. Let me discuss major points. Before, I would like to point out that, there will be no SEZ in Singur.

    “State government has declared the expansion of employment opportunities to be its prime objective for reform and industrialisation.”

    We have been listening for last couple of decades.

    “The proposed plant is expected to generate employment for 2,000 people directly and 10,000 people indirectly.”

    Who confirmed the figure? Did anybody from TATA? These are all imaginary number. If anybody likes to guess the numbe of employment this proposed plat could generate, he has to look over the employment status of industries developed in last couple of years. You can consider TATA Metalics as an example. It acquired 200 acres of land. And now tell me how many people are working there? As far as I know, 18 permanent and approximately 190 contractual labours. The wages of contractual workers are used to be very low in West Bengal and all over tha India. All sponge iron factory developed (in WB) in last couple of years are mostly running with contractual labours. The wages are approximately Rs 60 per day. And they has to work more than 8 hours a day.

    Under the circumstance, it is difficult to believe that TATA will give 2000 people employment. It cannot be magic. It has to sale car at Rs 1 laks and has to secure maximum profit. It is very easy to understand what would be the condition of workers there to ensure TATA’s maximum profit. They must be under tremendous exploitation. I simply don’t understand, how the supporters of TATA’s project in Singur can simply ignore this possibility and believe that it will result development.
    What does ‘development’ mean to you? A car at 1 lakh?

    “910.61 acres is mono-cropped and only 39.08 acres is under more than one crop. The rest of the land is non-agricultural.”

    These records were based on surveys dating back to 1990. During the last 15 years, in the proposed Tata Motors site, the peasants have got installed 35 shallow pumps, 28 of which with their own money. In addition, there are three deep-tube wells. The two rivulets, the Zulkia and the Kunti – flowing along the either sides provide a substantial irrigational facility. In the dry season these rivulets and the DVC (Damodar Valley Corporation’s dams) release irrigate the fields. How can such land be called single-cropped, barren or non-irrigated? (

    “The compensation package for farmers is another bone of contention. The State government says that keeping in view similar compensation awarded under the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, it is generous……..

    In an article in the Bengali daily Ganashakti (December 6), he (Binoy Konar) furnished facts and figures to show that the compensation amount, if kept in fixed deposits in commercial banks, would earn for land-losers 10-15 times the earnings from their cultivation. Furthermore, he calculated that even if the entire project area was taken to be double-cropped, it could generate about 1.50 lakh acres of man-days of employment, that is, whole-time employment for 300 days in a year for 500 persons only. By contrast, the Tata Motors' unit, when completed, will provide jobs, directly or indirectly, to more than 10,000 people.”

    Fallacy of Biony Konar’s argument lies in his calculation. He simply ignored the rate of inflation. Where the annual rate of inflation is more than 5%, the annual interest (from bank) of 8% in reality means (8-5)% = 3% annual rate of interest. So Binoy Konar joked.

    Consider the situation of aged people who run their livelihood with bank interest. It becomes more and more difficult for them. So they have to squeeze their need. The same will happen to those, who believed Binoy Konar.

    Another important point is income from agriculture. Government implemented the instructions of WTO and opened the market to foreign producers. So the worst condition of agriculture is due to them. When they signed GATT, they argued that it would make our life better. It didn’t happen. So now, they have started to sale the idea that agriculture is not profitable.

    “Community development work in the region has also started in earnest. Programmes undertaken include increasing drinking water facilities, repairing school buildings, improving roads, re-excavating the Jhulka canal to improve irrigation potential in the adjoining areas and digging tubewells to improve the cropping intensity in the surrounding region. All this work is being executed with local labour comprising land-losers and landless workers. More than 2,000 man-days have been generated as of the first week of December. The task of fencing the area was also given to the local people, which generated more than 5,500 man-days.”

    It is ridiculous. Whatever ‘development’ is going on in Singur, is run by the government till now. What is the connection of TATA’s plant with this ‘developmen’t? Government can run this sort of ‘development’ anywhere in West Bengal or India. But, they don’t usually. Interestingly they do where TATA or other big companies will invest. It simply means that with the hard earn money of common Indian people, government will build infrastructure for TATA’s profit. At the end of the day, using this infrastructure, TATA will unleash tremendous exploitation over the workers, as happens in TATA Metalics or sponge iron factories.

    “Another argument that is often heard is the so-called availability of land of closed mills and factories. Nirupam Sen clarified (see interview) why it was near-impossibile to use these lands - on account of the legal tangles arising from the Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Act, 1985, the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002, the West Bengal Estates Acquisition Act, 1953, and so on. Not only are these vacant lands scattered as relatively small plots, but quite often they are subject to proceedings of the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR), which may take up to 15 years for completion. Even otherwise, commercial banks have a lien on these lands.”

    Why government doesn’t bother to change these Acts? Government is going to change the land-selling act for Salim Group and big companies. Then what prohibit them to change these acts?

    We should forget about changing the acts. Within the existing acts there is provision to arrest so called ‘industrialists’ who defaulted employee provident fund. In West Bengal Rs 400 crore is pending in provident fund. Did anybody hear that government took any serious step against the defaulters?

    Now tell me whose interest government serves?


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