Monday, September 8, 2008

Editor Bangalore (TOI) - What's the main reason for unrest in Singur

In the spate of events at Singur for the past quite sometime people are forgetting one very basic thing - what's the real reason for so much unrest. Land acquisition is a part of any new industrial project. That means each and every large factory that came up anywhere in India had to go through similar steps of land acquisition. But such level of unrest has not been seen much. To a great extent the extent of the unrest in Singur, and any where else in Bengal - be it Nandigram or Haldia, is due to the fact that the ratio of land owning and landless farmers in Bengal is just mind boggling. This means that if some hundred people get compensation from Government many thousands don't get. The reason behind this shattering ratio is the fact that the Left front government, for almost three decades, has always indulged in 'arranging' small pieces of land for farming to millions of rural and illiterate people of Bengal, many of whom are immigrants from Bangladesh, without formally allocating lands to them and making them self-sufficient and less dependable on the local 'dada's of Panchayet. They always made sure that the farmers in Bengal remain poor forever because that make them more vulnerable to be perennially dependent on politicians. It has been a very conscious plan to ensure that Bengali farmers never become as prosperous as that in Punjab or Haryana. Now when land is acquired only the legal owners get the compensation, leaving majority of the farmers, who have been farming for years without owning any land, uncompensated. So it's very logical that majority of the people would objct to it. In most other states the ratio between lan owning and landless farmers is much less compared to that in Bengal and hence the unrest in any land acquisition is also more tame in nature. That's true for any place in Bengal and I don't think there's any solution. I don't see any hope of any industrialization in Bengal in near future. It will require some drastic reformists to change the paradigm in Bengal and make room for land acquisition and industrialization.

Thanks & Regards,
Sudipto Das



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