Staff Reporter

"Depriving farmers of their resources not acceptable"

  • "Will continue struggle against anti-farmer policies of State Government"
  • Against law to displace people without proper rehabilitation: Rajinder Sachar

    NEW DELHI: Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar, along with several activists of trade unions and civil society organisations, staged a sit-in outside the Banga Bhavan here on Thursday against alleged forcible acquisition of agriculture land for the Tatas to set up a car factory in Singur.

    Ms. Patkar said the West Bengal Government should initiate a dialogue with the Singur farmers. "The gram sabhas should have been taken into confidence before initiating any project on agricultural land. The farmers have the right to know what is being done with their land. If the State Government has any faith left in democracy, it should talk to them," she said.

    Farmers were united in the struggle against creation of Special Economic Zones or setting up of industries on agricultural land in any part of the country, she said.

    Why such projects could not be set up on wastelands, she asked.

    "Depriving the farmers of their resources and means of livelihood by invoking colonial laws is not acceptable to us. We will continue our struggle against the anti-farmer policies of the State Government and win it," she said.

    Expressing solidarity with Trinamool Congress leader Mamta Banerjee, who has been on hunger strike on the Singur issue, Ms. Patkar said the Government should talk to Ms. Banerjee.

    Human rights campaigner and former Delhi High Court Chief Justice Rajinder Sachar said: "It is not a question of giving right value of land to the farmers. The more important question is what purpose does such a project serve? In India, where one-fourth of the population is living below the poverty line, who will benefit from the small car project?"

    Mr. Justice Sachar said it was against the law to displace people without proper rehabilitation. "It is against human rights. The West Bengal Government should admit it."

    New Trade Union Initiative, All-India Federation of Trade Unions, Bharat Jan Andolan, All-India Central Council of Trade Unions and Samajwadi Jan Parishad activists, besides students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, took part in the protest.

    A memorandum was handed over to the Resident Commissioner of Banga Bhavan.