Discard 'Singur Model' of Development sign now

West Bengal Government
Writer's Building
Kolkata

Sub: Discard 'Singur Model' of development

Dear Sir,

Shocked and aggrieved by the recent police atrocities in Singur, we
urge the state government to immediately suspend its mindless aggression
against the cultivators of Singur and to revoke its policy of sacrificing
the state agriculture for the sake of an ill-advised notion of development.
We strongly feel that a confused government has impulsively acted on the
basis of inadequate research and information. Indeed, already hundreds of
scientists, social scientists and teachers of various institutes,
universities, colleges and schools spread across the country and abroad,
have registered their protests, questioning the very rationale of the
Singur model of development, through our online petition
(http://www.petitiononline.com/singur/).

We voice our strong apprehension that with the West Bengal government bent
on acquiring an ultimate total of 43,000 acres of cultivable land for
industry, the Singur-model will be replicated with disastrous
consequences for the society, economy and of course the future of democracy in the state.

Regarding the question of development following points may please be noted:

1. We are opposed not to development but to the particular model of it that
you are insisting on implementing. Gone are the days when economic
development used to be interpreted in terms of a rise in per capita income.
As rise in per capita income has been usually associated with growing income
inequality, especially in the poorer countries like India, the development in
post-modern society is being measured by a composite index of income, health,
nutrition, education, and freedom, thanks to the work of scholars like
Amartya Sen.

2. Only the `frogs in potholes' now-a-days equate development with `larger
industries' in the densely populated economies like India. The learned attitude to development
across countries of the world, including India, has shifted toward the services sector
comprising health, education, tourism, IT, etc.

3. Your declared aim to acquire 43,000 acres of land in South Bengal
alone will unquestionably entail eviction of cultivators in the very
hub of food grains and vegetables in the state. Assuming that 10 persons
are actively engaged in one acre of land, your idea of development would
be displacing 4 lakh 30 thousand people from occupation. Assuming an average
of four dependents per cultivator, we reckon that about 20 lakh individuals
will lose their livelihood in the process.


4. Talking of development, Employment Exchange statistics shows that there
are already 73 lakh registered unemployed in the state, of which about 40
lakh are educated. Kindly provide us with your `blueprint' of providing jobs
to these 73 lakh unemployed people. Also kindly explain why you need to add
another 5 lakh people to this already existing 73 lakh.

5. Regarding your promise of monetary compensation to the displaced, we
firmly assert the following for your information:

a. About 70\% of the rural households in West Bengal do not have bank
accounts and are hence inexperienced in 'growing more money' through the
various savings strategies. Existing data enable us to predict that the
compensation will fast evaporate, through spending on consumer durables and
liquor that typically gush in to fill in the world the peasant has lost.

b. The value of the `compensation money' will be reduced to `zero' within
the next 15-16 years, if the inflation remains stable at the current rate of
6\%.

6. We protest against the huge amount of subsidies that you are giving
to corporate capital in the name of development.

7. We protest against the way in which the implementation of the Singur
model has unleashed serial attacks on democracy in West Bengal. This model of
`development', instead of being chosen from below by the people of Singur
themselves, is being forcibly imposed from above by the state and corporate
interests.

8. The public has been denied the right to information about the details
of the Singur deal with the Tatas. The government, for example, has declined
to disclose information even to the members of the state assembly as to the
source of the Rs. 140 crore earmarked for `compensation'. The government
thus also conceals the fact that successive governments have invested crores
of rupees on enhancing soil fertility and productivity in Singur.


9. As is inevitable in the implementation of forcible `development' from
above, the logical consequence of the Singur-model has been the unleashing of
massive police atrocities on the farmers of Singur, which we very strongly
condemn. We demand the immediate release and withdrawal of all the cases
against the men, women and children arbitrarily arrested from Singur. This
forcible imposition has predictably brought in its trail other forms of
violation of human rights, which we equally condemn. Whatever your
governments claims to the contrary, the imposition of Section 144 IPC in
Singur was too evidently a calculated move enabling the police to ruthlessly
accomplish the `task' of forcible land acquisition and disabling the peasants
or the concerned rights activists from resisting such acquisition. We demand
the immediate withdrawal of the Section 144 from Singur. We also condemn the
assault on the right to free movement of not only the much-respected activist
Medha Patekar but of all activists whose only 'lawful' act has been to
empathise with the affected peasants and question the forcible acquisition of
land.

10. We also draw your attention to a vitally important research, which your
government seems to have ignored. The Geological Survey of India,
on request from the West Bengal state irrigation department, conducted a
survey of the Bhagirathi-Damodar region in 1987-88. The Report shows that
the retention of Singur as an agricultural area is crucial for the ecology of
the entire region east of the Damodar.

11. We vehemently criticise your administration's invention of the concept of
`outsiders' in relation to Singur. If we, the citizens of India and residents
of West Bengal are outsiders to the Singur question, so are you and most of
your cabinet colleagues. This concept of outsiders has only given your
administration the opportunity to deploy massive police terror on 1st
December 2006 to quell the mass movement against peasant eviction in Singur.
By your own token, then, Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat are outsiders to
West Bengal. How could you and your MLAs elect them to the Rajya Sabha from
our state? Do you think that you being `outsiders' to the factories
could instigate the factory workers to go in for an industrial strike on
14 December?

12. You and your colleagues often say that the electorates by electing 235
Left Front MLAs have given you the mandate to control their destinies.
However, please do not forget only half of the electorate in the state is
on your side. We also request you to kindly read what is written in the
Election Manifesto (2006) of the Left Front Committee. You are committed to
safeguard high quality agricultural land (page 7). The Left Front explicitly
stated in the Manifesto that urban centres will be developed at Dankuni and
in West Howrah. However, nowhere in the Manifesto is the industrialisation of
Singur mentioned. Nor, is there any mention that 43,000 acres of cultivable
land would be acquired for the purpose of so-called industries. So, where did
you get the mandate?


13. The state must have a land policy before grabbing any land under
private ownership for public purposes, or for private purposes as in the
case of Tata Motors in Singur. It is unfortunate to find that a self
proclaimed pro-people government is evicting so many people from their
rightful possesion of the lands and livelihood.


In view of the aforesaid points, we urge you to immediately discard this
`Singur Model' of development.




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Latest Signatures

  • 28 December 2015100. Ratan Ks
    Address 1/AF Bidhannagar, Kolkata-64. Profession Research Organization Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics I endores this petition.
  • 28 October 201599. Aastha N
    I support this petition
  • 28 October 201598. Kalyan M
    Address Salt Lake, Kolkata - 700 064 Profession Service Organization S. N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences The TATA car factory should be developed in non-agriculture land
  • 11 October 201597. Prdaipta C
    Address Baghbazar, Kolkata Profession Doctor Organization Individual В
  • 22 September 201596. Madhusudan R
    Address 1/AF Bidhannagar, Kolkata 700 064 Profession Service Organization Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics Before taking such a crucial step the government should have initiated a serious debate on the policy of industrialization in the state. Taking v
  • 01 August 201595. Dr Mitad
    Address 9 Old Calcutta Road, Barrackpore, Kolkata 700123 Profession Physician Organization Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies The ministers ought to educate themselves about the alternative models of development - from Cuba, for example.
  • 13 June 201594. Natalie C
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  • 03 June 201592. Abhijit G
    Address P-21 P.M. Sarani, Kolkata, PIN: 700 078 Profession Teaching Organization Jadavpur University Industrialization all right, but surely not at the cost of agriculture and farmers
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  • 26 December 201489. Indrakshi T
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  • 22 December 201488. Lawrence G
    Address 20 Northshore Dr., Jackson, TN (USA) Profession Professor Organization Jackson State C.C. The Singur model of industrial development is not sustainable. Furthermore, locating a factory that close to water resources will only make water quality wo
  • 18 September 201487. Abhee Kd
    Address 1/AF Bidhannagar, Kolkata-700 064 Profession Research and Teaching Organization Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics Government should first define what it means by `development'. Development for whom ?
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Information

Agnes BoyleBy:
Justice, rights and public orderIn:
Petition target:
The Chief Minister

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