SINGUR: Residents observed a 10-hour bandh here on Saturday to protest the Opposition’s “political game,” which, they felt, forced the Tata Motors to pull out the small car project from Singur. Tyres were burnt on the Durgapur Expressway.
It was gloom and disgruntlement all over. Agitated residents put up blockades on the expressway, halting traffic for most of the day. The blockade, which began within hours of the announcement by the company on Friday, has now been lifted.
“Can any of the Opposition leader tell us what we will do now? People of Singur have been the worst sufferers in this dirty political game,” said Srikanta Sahana, a farmer who had willingly given away an acre of land for the project.
Though Durga Puja festivities are slated to start from Sunday, the residents seem to be in no mood to celebrate. “I have taken a loan of Rs. 20 lakh, I don’t know how I will repay it. This is going to be the saddest Puja in my life,” said Ramchandra Ghosh, a building material supplier to the Nano plant.
Mr. Ghosh said the residents had expected that Tata Motors officials would be more patient before taking the extreme step.
A crowd burst out at the mention of Opposition leader Mamata Banerjee. “She has ruined our lives and we will make sure that she is not allowed to enter the place whose prospects have been throttled by her,” said Dilip Mondal, a local farmer leader.
Earlier in the day, a brief scuffle occurred between Trinamool Congress and CPI (M) supporters when Trinamool workers allegedly forcibly tried to open shops, which were closed down for the bandh, at the nearby Kamarkundu station.
Discontented youth of Beraberi, who were employed at the Tata Motors project site as security guards, dug up roads leading to the village. Also, there were attempts by the protesters to dig up the Expressway.
Sharecroppers not bothered
In villages like Dobandi, which are mostly inhabited by sharecroppers, the residents struck a different note. “It hardly matters to us that the Tatas are leaving as we had nothing to do with the project. Rather we lost our means of livelihood to the project,” said Sadananda Patra, a former sharecropper.