Kolkata,30th September: The West Bengal government has convened an all-party meeting here on Tuesday to find ways torestore normality in Singur so that Tatas can resume work on the car project there.
The meeting, however, will not be attended by the State’s principal Opposition party, the Trinamool Congress, that has been spearheading an agitation demanding return of 400 acres of land [300 acres from within the site] acquired for the project to farmers who have not accepted compensation for their plots.
Call for consensus
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is keen that the major political parties in the State reach a consensus in support of the project at Singur prior to his meeting with Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Group, the date for which is yet to be finalised.
There have been apprehensions of Tata Motors pulling out of Singur ever since work was suspended at the site on September 2 in view of continued confrontation and agitation by the Trinamool Congress and its allies.
The agitation was lifted after a meeting between the Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on September 7. But the latter has threatened to resume the agitation unless an agreement between her associates and the State government on the land issue is implemented.
On Monday, Ms. Banerjee ruled out her party’s participation in any all-party meeting that the government convenes till the latter decides to implement the agreement signed on September 7.
“If the agreement is operationalised, we have no problems sitting for talks on any technical matter but not on the question of the package [proposed by the State government for the rehabilitation of the affected farmers of Singur],” she said.
Congress to attend meet
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi said the Congress had decided to attend the meeting. It would have been better had the meeting been called before the process of land acquisition for the project started, Mr. Dasmunsi said.
Cong acts as shadow of Trinamool at all-party meet on Singur
30 Oct, 2008
KOLKATA: WEST Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s all out efforts to salvage Singur by garnering Congress support in the run-up to his crucial Friday meeting with Ratan Tata has suffered a jolt.
On Tuesday, the Congress state leadership declined to sign a resolution adopted during an all-party meeting urging the Tatas and their Nano vendors to resume work in Singur. Instead, the state Congress has backed Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee’s demand that the Buddadeb government first honour its Singur land return agreement of September 7. Significantly, Congress’s refusal to ink the all-party resolution came hours after the crucial meeting between Sonia Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee in Dehi on Tuesday afternoon.
Though the all-party meeting was convened by the chief minister to assess the Singur situation , frontline opposition parties — the Trinamool Congress and SUCI — boycotted it. But what surprised the chief minister and state is industry minister Nirupam Sen was the volte-face by the Congress. “The Tatas are coming here on Friday to hold talks with our government on their Nano project in Singur. I had convened the all-party meeting and all Left parties and even the BJP had supported our stand on Singur and even signed a resolution that was finalised after accommodating amendments given by nearly all political parties. But I note that the Congress letter drafted by Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi is nothing but a shadow of Trinamool Congress’ view on the Singur land issue,”
Mr Bhattacharjee told reporters after the all-party meeting on Tuesday. Interestingly, the Congress was represented by Subrata Mukherjee who had recently visited Singur to express his solidarity with Mamata Banerjee’s land agitation, along with Manas Bhunia, leader of the Congress Legislative Party and Shankar Singh, a party MLA from Nadia district. Congress spokesperson Mukherjee, however, told reporters that “the principal opposition party and the state government has signed an agreement and agreed to distribute land to the unwilling farmers from within the Nano factory premises. We want the government to implement the September 7 agreement and distribute land to the unwilling farmers if necessary by purchasing plots in the nearby locality. We have not given our consent to the resolution because the government has deviated from what it had promised on September 7 at the Raj Bhavan meeting.”
Asked to react on the Sonia-Mamata meeting, Mr Bhattacharjee said “I have no interest in what they have discussed.” About the refusal by the Congress to sign the resolution, Mr Bhattacharjee said, “I don’t know whose decision it is. I also don’t know whether this is Mr Dasmunsi’s personal opinion or it is the decision taken by the state Congress. But the party has refused to give its consent to our resolution for the time being, although I still believe good sense will prevail at their end shortly to support our government’s initiative.” The resolution adopted after the 90-minute meeting, however, requested the Tatas and its vendors to restart their work at Singur at the earliest. Political parties also urged the common people to create a peaceful and congenial atmosphere so that work at Singur can start without any delay.
West Bengal commerce & industries minister Nirupam Sen told later told reporters that a parliamentary standing committee will soon table before the Lok Sabha the bill promulgated by the Union government on rehabilitation and resettlements for the landlosers. “The compensation package we have given in case of Singur is better than what the Centre will announce for the land losers,” claimed the minister.
Mamata meets Sonia, demands use of Art 355 in W Bengal
New Delhi, Sep 30 (PTI): Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today met UPA Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Singur issue and demanded central intervention in West Bengal under Article 355 of the Constitution to "protect" the interests of farmers there.
"The Centre cannot keep mum. It must intervene to protect the interests of farmers as well as that of the industry," she told reporters after a 30-minute meeting with Gandhi here.Asked what kind of intervention she was seeking, Banerjee said "the state government cannot unilaterally reject an agreement reached in the presence of the Governor. ... There is constitutional sanctity to it (agreement). Therefore, it is better to use Article 355 against the state government."
Under Article 355, the Centre is duty bound to protect a state from either external aggression or internal disturbance or send a directive to fulfill constitutional duties.The Trinamool Congress chief, who was accompanied at the meeting by party's sole Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy and former MP Dinesh Trivedi, said she presented all documents relevant to the Tatas car project, including the copies of the agreement and several related letters, to Gandhi.
To a question whether it would serve the state's interests if the Tatas withdrew from the Nano project in Singur, Banerjee said "you are only interested in the Tatas and saying 'tata, bye-bye' to the people." "We are not against industries. Both industry and agriculture should flourish side by side and not grow at the cost of one another," she said. PTI