Welcoming West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's decision to return land to ‘unwilling' farmers in Singur, Communist Party of India general secretary A.B. Bardhan said here on Saturday that his party had never supported the manner in which the previous Left Front government had acquired land at Singur.
Mr. Bardhan, however, criticised the loopholes in the newly-passed Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, which, he said, has led the legislation to run into legal troubles, and pointed out that the State government should return the land in a “proper way”.
“The decision to return land to the unwilling farmers is Singur is a good one. Since we have been always talking against acquiring farmland and setting up of special economic zones, our party has no objection to this move of the State government,” he said at a press conference.
Claiming that the CPI had urged the previous State government to explore industrial opportunities in the semi-arid Purulia district, where vast swathes of wasteland are lying around, rather than acquiring fertile farmland for the Tata Motors small car project, Mr. Bardhan said the government's argument was that the Tata Motors had wanted the Singur land.
He also spoke out against the acquisition of about 1,000 acres of land for the project.
“I have seen many projects coming up in several parts of the country, but none of them needed 1,000 acres,” Mr. Bardhan asserted.
Asked as to why the CPI had not raised its voice when land was being acquired in Singur, or during Nandigram, he said that the party had “protested as much as it could while being within the government.”
Supporting the ongoing anti-Posco movement in neighbouring Orissa, Mr. Bardhan said that even as the anti-land acquisition movement there is “more intense” than that in Singur and Nandigram, it has been the “most peaceful” land struggle so far.
He said American finance companies were the actual investors in the Posco (Pohang Iron and Steel Company) project, the South Korean company being just a facade.