Reiterating the demand for the return of 400 acres of land to farmers at Singur, Union Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Sunday repeated her willingness to set up a railway coach factory on the remaining 600 acres in a “joint-venture” with the State government.
“They [State government] can provide the land, which will be their equity, and we can put up the factory, which will be our contribution,” Ms. Banerjee said at Singur at a function to lay the foundation stone for the Kishan Vision Project.
Her suggestion of a joint-venture comes despite the policy of non-cooperation with the State government that her party is following including the boycotting of all-party-meetings and the refusal to attend public functions where Ministers belonging to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) — the largest party in the ruling Left Front — are present.
Emphasising the need for developing both agriculture and industry in the region, Ms. Banerjee said, “the pilot project for the nationwide Kishan Vision Project had been launched at Singur.”
“As long as I am alive, the people of Singur will always be included in the development of the soil of Singur,” Ms. Banerjee vowed while announcing a slew of projects for the district.
The movement launched in 2007 and led by her party, against the alleged forcible accusation of farmland for industry , was repeatedly referred to during her successful campaign for the Lok Sabha elections. The agitation eventually forced Tata Motors to relocate its small car project to Gujarat.
Elaborating on the Kishan Vikas Project announced in the 2009 Railway budget, Ms. Banerjee said the setting up of cold-storage facilities and air-conditioned containers will allow farmers to obtain the correct prices for their produce and access markets elsewhere in the country.