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Tatas begin work at Singur
Farmers burn pillars of plant site wall
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, January 21
Singur flared up again today during the Tata Motors “bhoomi pujan” when aggrieved farmers at Beraberi village uprooted some 20 pillars of the boundary wall of the plant site and burnt them to protest against the eviction and transfer of their farm lands to Tata Motors. Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, who was released from the nursing home only yesterday after 25 days, called upon the people to support the poor farmers at Singur and strengthen their agitation against the state government.

Mr Partha Chatterjee, leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, held the Chief Minister responsible for inciting the poor farmers, instead of meeting them for redressing their grievances. He alleged that Mr Bhattacharjee had dishonoured President A.P.J. Kalam and Dr Manmohan Singh by allowing Tata Motors for holding the ceremony on disputed land.

According to official reports, around 10 a.m. today several Tata Motors officials led by general manager M.B. Kulrani reached Singur for “bhoomi pujan” of the proposed car plant site. Managing director of WBIDC M.V. Row and the DM, Hooghly, were also present there along with a large contingent of paramilitary forces and the state police.

While “bhoomi pujan” was being performed, angry farmers, including women and leaders of the Krishi Bachhao Committee, raised slogans on the other side.

They soon dismantled several pillars and burnt them. Some of them also tried to take possession of the land. But the policemen carrying AK-47s and other weapons chased them.

Leaders of the TMC alleged that the police lathi charged protesters and also fired several rounds in air.

The TMC today sent urgent messages to Dr Kalam and Dr Manmohan Singh, lodging formal complaints with them against the state Chief Minister. The TMC leaders will be meeting Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi tomorrow.

The Chief Minister, however, reiterated that the Tata Motors project would be implemented as announced and the government would provide adequate police protection for the smooth construction of the motor plant at Singur.

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Mamata cries foul

Mamata BanerjeeExpressing shock at the manner in which the construction work for the Tata Motors small car project began at Singur, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee accused the Left Front government of deceiving her and said the people would not forgive the state government and the Tatas for their audacity.

Ms Banerjee said, “I am not well, I'm still under treatment. The way the construction work started surreptitiously for the Tata project shocked me and hurt me deeply.” She said she had called off her 25-day fast after she received an assurance from the President, Prime Minister, state Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi. Moreover, the government in a letter to her had stated that the issue of forcible acquisition of land for the project will be settled through discussion.

“The construction work for the project began at gunpoint after Section 144 CrPC was imposed in the area. They have forgotten all courtesy,” she said. — PTI

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