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Trinamool minister faces angry protests by Singur farmers

November 28, 2012 22:28 IST

West Bengal's new Minister of State for Agriculture Becharam Manna on Wednesday faced angry protests from farmers who had lost their land in Singur.

The farmers said they would not have joined the agitation against Tata Nano's project had they known they would be left to their fate.

"We want money for the land taken away from us. We have waited for one and a half years (since the Trinamool Congress came to power in the state) to get the compensation, but we don't even hear about it anymore. We are now left begging," was the complaint of the people to Manna, a Trinamool Congress legislator, who was closely associated with the Singur agitation.

The people were among those who had neither signed nor taken any compensation for their holdings from the erstwhile Left Front government.

The people of Gopalnagar, Beraberi and Khasherberi villages, land from which were included in the project site, had gathered in front of the Block Development Officer's office for collecting rice coupons given by the state government.

Manna, who was there to oversee the distribution of the coupons, told the people that the state government was serious about its commitment to Singur's affected farmers.

"This was reflected in the first Cabinet decision on land rehabilitation scheme for the affected after the TMC came to power," he claimed.

"Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has not forgotten your plight. She will be here on Friday. I am certain that everything will be set right one day," Manna promised.

The state government had passed the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act but it was nullified by a division bench of the Calcutta high court, following which the state appealed before the Supreme Court, where the matter is pending.

The Trinamool government had passed the legislation at Banerjee's initiative -- providing for 400 acres to unwilling farmers who had to give up their holding for the small car project. The unwilling farmers had not even accepted compensation for their land at Singur.

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