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Posted on Dec 02, 10:57PM | IANS
A West Bengal minister Sunday assured restive farmers from Singur, the centre of the ruling Trinamool Congress' volatile movement against the Nano car plant in 2006-08, that the problem would be solved by January next.
He also asked them not to allow into their villages a section of the media "spreading lies" on the issue.
Addressing a public meeting in this area of Hooghly district, newly-appointed Minister of State for Agriculture Becharam Manna said people of Singur were law-abiding, but if the law went against them, "they will decide what to do".
A large section of Singur farmers, who had not accepted cheques from the then Left Front government in return for their land for the Tatas' car project as it was allegedly taken against their will, are aggrieved with the Mamata Banerjee government over not getting back their land and even not receiving the dole of Rs.2,000 and rice at Rs.2 per kg announced by Banerjee.
"Have faith in us. You will get back your land. Our leader Mamata Banerjee is determined to return your land," said Manna, who had faced an angry demonstration from the aggrieved farmers Thursday.
The farmers, who were promised by then opposition leader Banerjee that 400 acres of the acquired land would be returned to them if her party came to power, had been the pillars of the volatile anti-land acquisition movement which ultimately forced the automobile major to shift the plant to Gujarat.
But 18 months into Banerjee's rule, the farmers are yet to get back their land due to a legal row between the Tatas and the state government.
"If we want, we can forcibly take the land. but we have faith in the legal process. People of Singur are also law-abiding. But if the law goes against the people then they will decide what to do," said the minister, who had been the local face of the Banerjee-led movement that catapulted the Trinamool into power.
Lashing out at a section of the media which has been highlighting the farmers' resentment against the government, Manna said: "They have taken money from Tata and the (opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist) CPI-M. They are spreading lies. Don't believe them. They are spreading misinformation."
The minister alleged that these media houses were taking statements to suit their interests by paying money to some people of Singur who had bitterly opposed the movement but were now feigning as "unwilling farmers".
"Don't allow the representatives of these media houses to enter your villages," he said.