- Politics and Social Issues
The LAND for INDUSTRY question : a QUESTIONNAIRE
The LAND for INDUSTRY question : a QUESTIONNAIRE
(First published on Saturday, 3 March 2012)
1 Does she* agree that she is anti-industrialisation and anti-development?
2 How does she explain the fact that almost since when the acquisition of land commenced at Singur we have been watching her in association with her blind followers side with the 'unwilling' and oppose the acquisition in question?
3 Why did she never to date side with the 'willing' at Singur,at Rajarhat,and at Nandigram?
4 How would she explain the fact that never ever to date has she been heard, or have her followers, to utter a word against the compensation amount paid for the acquired land by the former LF government?
5 Why does she love to keep mum on the point that the compensation package offered for the acquired land by the LF government was not unfair?
6 Why does she maintain a studied silence respecting the fact that at Singur over 80 per cent of the landowners, as per the WBIDC records, willingly parted with their parcels?
7 What does she have to say against the assertion that the 400 figure of the 400 acres that we have been hearing her keeping claiming since 2008 to have been forcibly taken from the 'unwilling' is not only fictitious but far overstated as well?
8 Does she have any comments to make on the claim that over 80 per cent of the total land (997.17acres) acquired at Singur was obtained from those who willingly parted with their holdings?
9 What does she have to say in regard to the assertion that at Singur over 70 per cent of the share-croppers connected with the acquired land received the compensation cheques?
10 Why did she never try to persuade the 'unwilling' into willingly parting with their plots?
[* 'she' refers to the popular leader who spearheaded the anti-acquisition agitation in Bengal (a state of India) and is representative of all those who are opposed to the forcible acquisition of land for industrialisation.]
11 Why did she carry the anti-acquisition agitation at Singur too far so as to thwart the Tatas' small-car project there?
12 Does she agree with the view that the interest of society is paramount,and so whenever the individual interest would clash with the former, the individual must give in?
13 Is she aware that at Singur land was forcibly acquired from the 'unwilling' (who accounted for less than 20 per cent of the total landowners) for the industrialisation and development of Bengal?
14 Is she aware of the fact that industries are needed for the economic uplift of the poor and down and out?
15 Is she aware of the fact that with growth in industrial output goes up the GNP of the country?
16 Is she aware of the fact that the higher the GNP goes the more the state's revenue increases?
17 Is she aware that the rise in the state's revenue involves a proportionate rise in the state's welfare spending?
18 Is she aware that the rise in the state's welfare spending entails more funds for the one-hundred-day-work-per-annum project for the rural poor?
19 Is she aware that the rise in welfare spending means wider subsidized food-security coverage for the have-nots?
20 Is she aware that the rise in welfare spending means more state-aided schools,colleges,and polytechnics,ie more teachers,more lecturers,hence the spread of literacy and knowledge among the poor and down and out?
21 Is she aware that more funds for welfare schemes mean more state-run hospitals and health centres,ie more doctors,more nurses,more medicines,more X-ray machines,more USG services,more CT scans,more MRI tests,et cetera,et cetera in the service of the poor?
22 Is she aware that farm land is needed for industrialisation because industries cannot be built in the air,on hilltops,in seas,or in deserts?
23 Could she explain what difference it makes whether land is acquired by the state or whether it is collected by industrialists through direct purchase as long as the acquired land is made use of for industrialisation and developmental purposes?
24 Could she state what difference it makes whether land is acquired by the state or whether it is collected through direct purchase by industrialists as long as the landowners are paid the right price for their parcels?
25 Would she please explain what point there is,if the 'unwilling' consent to accept alternative 'equivalent' plots, in their insisting on being given back or in obliging them by creating a new law with the intention of granting them the possession of such plots inside of the former Tata compound(now vesting in the state government)while there are ever so many vast expanses of fertile land lying outside,unless it is sheer malice towards the Tatas and sheer design to foil the Tata project that the brains behind and the proponents of the enactment being discussed together with the 'unwilling' in question are motivated by,or unless it is a fact that it is their anti-industry and anti-development attitude that moves them to act up thus,or unless both these factors are present behind their move under discussion?
26 Is she opposed to the economic advancement of the poor?
27 Is she aware of the truth that effecting the economic uplift of the poor requires the state government to pave the way for large-scale industrialisation_a lot of more industries,new and new industries we need for the creation of rewarding-work opportunities,both direct and indirect,for the poor multitude?
28 Is she aware that the acquisition of land by the state is required for speedy and large-scale industrialisation,for especially the large-scale industrial projects need large quantities of land,each of which should be large enough at a stretch,which industrialists may not be able to collect through direct purchase as everywhere they are likely to meet with a benighted,brainless,bullheaded band like the 'unwilling' of Singur,Nandigram,and Rajarhat,who have an attitude like this : 'Down with industry!Down with development!We won't give up our land.'?
29 Is she aware of the reality that most land in Bengal is fragmented into innumerable small and tiny holdings among a sea of small and marginal farmers?
30 Does she really believe that industrialists in the present-day Indian context would agree to subject themselves to the kind of ordeal of holding negotiations with an awfully vast number of landowners in order to persuade them into parting with their lots,while there are so many states such as Andhra,Haryana,UP, Gujarat,Odisha,and so on and so forth,where the respective state governments are prepared to undertake this unpleasant task for the industrialists and acquire as much land as they need?
31 Is she bothered about what if the industrialists happen to decline to undergo the ordeal being discussed?
32 Does she care about what most captains of Indian industry think in the matter at issue?
33 Is her opposition to the acquisition of land for industries by the state premised on the thesis that as industrialists do not share their profits with the state, so they should not expect the latter to help them obtain land?
34 Is she certain that the view that industrialists do not share their profits with the state is the whole truth?
35 Is it not a fact that a significant part of the profit earned by an industrialist is paid as income tax,wealth tax,etc?
36 As far as I know,almost each and every industrial product is taxed;is it not true?
37 Is it not true that the state collects huge revenue in the form of excise from industrialists?
38 Does she not comprehend that no industries would mean no industrial products and no industrial products would mean no income tax from industrialists,no excise revenue,and no sales tax revenue from the sale of industrial goods into the state's coffers?
39 Does she acknowledge that the issue of economic advancement of the poor multitude is as weighty as that of India's national security,both internal and external?
40 Does she acknowledge the fact that the dreadful problem of Maoism that, our sane and sage Prime Minister rightly believes,poses the direst threat to the internal security of our country is rooted in massive underdevelopment,especially,in tribal belts that supply the terrific outfit of jungle terrorists with the bulk of its members?
41 Is she aware that many of the poor and deprived who feel little or no love for their motherland easily give way to the lure of filthy lucre and sell themselves for a meagre sum to the enemies of the nation and thus jeopardise the national security?
42 Is she aware that without industrialisation,we would remain a backward,hence economically weak nation?
43 Does she understand that economic weakness means defencelessness too,for an industrially backward nation depends on developed nations for defence equipment,arms and ammunition,etc suitable for present-day warfare,which are obtainable for payment in dollars and pounds sterling,which industrially backward nations are unable to make as dollars and pounds sterling are hard-earned foreign exchange that is to be earned by selling mainly industrial goods of international standard?
44 Is she really unable to appreciate the truth that even if we want to earn some foreign exchange by exporting a part of our farm produce,we have to raise the productivity of land and labour,for which we need large-scale industrialisation,as well?(Please refer also to the question numbered 65.)
45 Would she now agree with me on the point that the issue of industrialisation matters as much as the necessity for building powerful national defence?
46 Is she opposed to the forcible acquisition of land for defence purposes too?
47 Is she unable to grasp the unvarnished truth that if all dealing in land is left to market alone,middlemen and the land mafia are likely to take control of the land market?
48 Is she unable to realise that if the land market passes under the control of middle men and the land mafia,the poor,mostly illiterate and barely literate landowners are sure to be deprived of the lion's share of the real price for their plots by the middlemen and the mafia men who will pocket it?
49 Did she take heed of of a recent news piece(1) saying that a guy of Chhattisgarh purchased 4.07 acres of farmland for a proposed power plant of the Videocon group from a villager by the name of Mr Sonuram at less than Rs 300,000 an acre vis-a-vis Rs 800,000 per acre which happened to be the 'state-mandated price'(1) for that kind of land?
50 Does she not feel that turning a blind eye to things of the sort referred to in the previous question is a glaring evidence of extreme callousness towards the poor and powerless?
51 Would she now agree with this view of mine that the concern for the poor landowners those people opposed to the acquisition of land for industries by governments and advocating leaving all dealing in land to market alone love to display is in essence quite a charade?
52 How,then,would she now justify her determined opposition to the acquisition of land for industries by governments?
53 Perhaps,she would now resort to her pet slogan MA-MATI-MANUSH,would she?
[(1) See the news item headlined : 'BJP mantri's son buys land for Videocon' in THE TIMES OF INDIA dated 23/06/11(p1) and the news item headlined :'Two jobs for one sale deed,...'(ibid;p7).'Worse,' observed the Times correspondent,'since Sonuram sold his land to Kanwar[the guy who bought the land in question] and not the company,he is not entitled to a job in lieu of the land.'(ibid)]
54 Would she argue to defend her anti-acquisition stand that she respects the emotional attachment the self-willed 'unwilling' landowners(MANUSH) feel for the earth(MATI) that they look on as their mother(MA) as it is the source of their bread and butter?
55 Is it her only defence to justify her stand being discussed?
56 Would she and the lot around her deny the fact that the mother earth is unable to yield enough earnings for most of her sons to allow them to enjoy decent living?
57 Would they deny the fact that agriculture as a whole does not pay?
58 The state purchase of huge quantities of foodgrain at support price,huge fertilizer subsidy,subsidy in irrigation water,et cetera,et cetera prove the simple fact that agriculture is not remunerative,do they not?
59 Do they deny the fact that most of those dependent on farming are pretty much down-and-outs unable to make both ends meet?
60 Would they now make believe that never ever have they heard before of the one-hundred-day-work-per-annum project,subsidised foodgrain(wheat at Rs 2 a kilo,rice at Rs 3 a kilo,etc),etc to help the rural poor continue to exist,which evidently prove my points(viz (1)most of the farming community fail to make ends meet;(2)agriculture just does not pay)?
61 Need I remind them of the grim reality that about 90 per cent of the rural population in our motherland suffer,according to the National Advisory Council,the lack of food security?
62 Need I also remind them of the despicable fact that in our country shocking reports of the sons of mother earth(eg paddy growers,potato producers,onion cultivators,et cetera,et cetera)committing suicide by consuming pesticides or hanging themselves consequent upon harvest failure or plunging prices in the event of a bumper crop not very infrequently hit the headlines?
63 Do I really need to bring it home to them that man is a social being and that the individual,being an insignificant member of society,cannot survive without social support and succour?
64 Would they now agree with my view that as agriculture on the whole does not pay,we have no alternative to large-scale industrialisation in order to help the poor masses inclusive of the rural have-nots live a decent life?
65 Even if we want to raise the productivity of land and labour so as to make agriculture a remunerative occupation and earn some foreign exchange by exporting part of our farm produce, we need large-scale industrialisation, for modern farm implements and machines (eg tractors,combine harvesters,etc),machines for modern irrigation(eg pumps for shallow and deep tubewells, etc), GM seeds, chemical fertilizers, effective pest-control devices and chemicals, machinery necessary to produce them, machinery to produce necessary power to operate all these machines, et cetera, et cetera, all are to be produced on large scale in large, hi-tech industrial projects because the larger the scale of production, the lower the cost of production. Am I right or wrong?
66 Industrialisation is also needed to create rewarding employments for the surplus labour that emerges as a result of a rise in labour productivity. Am I right or wrong?
67 As I have stated earlier, with growth in industrial output grows the GNP of the country, and the more the GNP grows, the more the nation's coffers swell, which fact finds expression in higher welfare spendings by which the poor benefit a lot.Isn't it true, ladies and gentlemen?
68 Though the agricultural growth, it must not be missed, contributes a lot to the GNP, as the bulk of farm produce is untaxed and most individual earnings from farming happen to be too low to be subject to taxation, agriculture's contribution in general accounts for little in the national exchequer; isn't it true, sirs and madams?
69 Opposition to the acquisition of land for industries by the state appears to be based on the delusion that the industrial sector plays only a secondary part in the economic advancement of the poor and down and out and the society as a whole,does it not?
70 The study of the developed First World(where 3,4,or 5 per cent of their working population,in contrast to over 60 per cent of ours,are engaged in agriculture)also shows that there is no substitute for large-scale industrialisation so as to effect the economic uplift of the poor,does it not?
71 The fact that the standard of living of an average US citizen or an average Western European is arguably far better than that of an average Indian should constitute a glaring instance that proves the point that there is no alternative to large-scale industrialisation in order to bring about the economic advancement of the poor,should it not?
72 The only explanation of the fact that in the developed First World as low as 3,4,or 5 per cent of their working population,vis-à-vis over 60 per cent of ours,are engaged in agriculture is that most of the rural people there have,simply because it did not pay,abandoned farming and drifted to towns and cities to find and accept work in industries,is it not?
73 How would she explain the fact that while those unenlightened,imbecile,unyielding rustics of Singur needed,and still need,thorough counselling and persuasion to bring home to them the very point that industrialisation is needed for their own well-being,for the economic uplift of down-and-outs who lead a wretched existence as beasts do,she and the lot around her did just the contrary by fuelling their reaction and leading their prolonged anti-acquisition agitation that culminated in forcing the Tatas to take away their small-car project from Singur to Sanand in Gujarat?
74 Does the TMC chief agree that the fact that they have,from the outset,chosen to take sides with the 'unwilling' and the way she led the wayward rustics' agitation that forced the Tatas to shift their project to Gujarat prove the point that they are moved by an anti-industry motivation?
75 How would she explain the fact that perhaps in 2008,making an arrogant display of open defiance befitting her,she proclaimed : 'The Tatas' factory at Singur won't materialize,won't materialize,won't materialize' ?
76 How does she justify the fact that never ever to date has she made an effort to persuade the 'unwilling' to make over their plots to the Tatas?
77 Of course,she is not opposed to the acquisition of land through negotiation and persuasion,is she?
78 Should I remind her of a statement of hers made in February this year which suggests that she does not view with disapproval the implementation of projects through negotiations(2)?
[(2) As reported by the Bengali daily ANANDABAZAR PATRIKA dated 13/02/11,the TMC chief made this observation : 'We are opposed to expropriating land and living from hundreds and thousands of farmers.But I think it might be realistic if projects were implemented through negotiation and without haste.']
79 Another important question in this connexion I should like her to respond to is : Does she really have faith in the efficacy of the policy of the acquisition of land through negotiation and persuasion alone?
80 Does she have faith in her capacity to turn the 'unwilling' into the 'willing' through negotiation and persuasion alone?
81 If she is truly pro-industrialisation and pro-development,if she really believes in the efficacy of her policy of the acquisition of land through negotiation and persuasion alone,and if she is confident that she possesses the calibre required to turn the 'unwilling' into the 'willing',then
(a)why did she always side with the 'unwilling' against the 'willing' at Singur,at Nandigram,and at Rajarhat?
(b)Why should she not agree to side with the 'willing' and the Tatas?
(c)Why did she not undertake to persuade the 'unwilling' at Singur,at Nandigram,and at Rajarhat into giving up their land for developmental projects and thereby prove the efficacy of her land policy as well as her calibre at issue?
(d)Why did she not co-operate on the realisation of many a Bengali's dream project,a chemical hub at Nandigram?
(e)Why did she fuel the unrest of some 'unwilling' self-willed rustics(who accounted for less than 20 per cent of the total landowners at Singur) to disappoint our aspiration to see the 'nanos' come out of the factory at Singur?
82 A very relevant and intriguing question likely to occur to every informed citizen with a rational mindset just this moment is : Why did she subject herself to 26-day-long fasting(in 2008)demanding the return of all forcibly acquired land to the 'unwilling' of Singur?
83 Another relevant and interesting question coming into mind at this point is : Why did she leave Sankrail in Howrah with the DMU-coach project she proposed to implement there and at a run get at Haldia in East Midnapore?
84 Why did she not negotiate a deal with the 'unwilling' at Sankrail?
85 The way the proposed DMU-coach-factory project at Sankrail was abandoned throws into question not only her sincerity and seriousness for negotiation but her faith in her own competency in settling disputes through negotiation as well,does it not?
86 Would she repeat her allegation that she once made in order to fool us into believing it was because of the mischief of some badmashes belonging to the CPI(M) that she had to shift the DMU-coach project from Sankrail to Haldia?
87 Would she claim that those who stood in her way of implementing the DMU-coach project at Sankrail were not the land givers?
88 What is her defence for refusing to hold talks with the land givers at Sankrail?
89 Was she sure that all talks with the land givers under discussion were unlikely to bear fruit?
90 If so,would she state what led her to arrive at such a conclusion?
91 Was the reason she did not dare make an effort to resolve the dispute through negotiation with the land givers at Sankrail that she was apprehensive that her effort might end in outright unsuccessfulness,in which case she would have been hard pressed to demonstrate that she did not lack the calibre needed to win over the 'unwilling' through negotiation,and hence her land policy in question was not ineffectual,which fact might have proved highly politically disadvantageous for her before the Assembly elections(2011) in Bengal?
92 A case in point which makes her feel enigmatic is her 26-day-long fasting unto death demanding the return of all forcibly acquired land to the 'unwilling' at Singur.She is not,as per her own assertion,opposed to industry;nor is she opposed to development.But she is uncompromisingly opposed to the acquisition of land for industrialisation by governments for reasons nobody knows or known to herself alone.Then,where would land for industries come from?She wants industrialists to collect land all by themselves.Am I right?
93 At Singur the former LF government acquired some land for an industrial venture_this infuriated her.Although the acquired land was handed over to the Tatas,a leading Indian industrialist family,although the price paid by the government for the acquired land was not unfair nor any less than what the Tatas would have paid,had they purchased the land directly,and although she was not,nor is she,as she loves to claim to be,opposed to industrialisation and development,it was simply because the land was acquired by the government that she grew furious_so much so that she went as far as to enter on a hunger-strike that lasted as long as 26 days at a stretch,which fact might have even led to her premature end.I have puzzled over in vain to date what reason befitting a sane and sensible human justifies such an act as the one of fasting for 26 days without break.
(a) For what good reason did she risk her own life thus?
(b) Was the said act of hers founded on sound judgement at all?
(c) Or,was it based on rank impulsiveness?
(d) Are her actions always dictated by right reasoning?
94 Last February this year she was once reported to have made this statement : 'I also told them to build the factory at Singur on 600 acres.The outstanding part of it,after moving it a little away,might be built on the other side of the road.'(3)
I do not know whether she really advanced such a proposal ever before.Notwithstanding,it is obvious that she was still clinging on to her demand that 400 acres be returned to the 'unwilling'.Further,her proposal,had it been accepted,would have meant the fresh acquisition of another 400 acres of fertile,multi-crop farmland on the other side of Durgapur Express Way.It is also to be noted that she did not warrant that all the landowners 'on the other side of the road' were willing to part with their holdings.Thus,we see while she was demanding the return of 400 acres of land on the one side of the road on the grounds that it was forcibly acquired,at the same time she proposed the forcible acquisition of a further 400 acres 'on the other side of the road'.The above proposal of hers,if read between the lines,suggests some important points stated beneath.
(1) She is not opposed to the forcible acquisition of land.
(2) She is not against the acquisition of land by governments.
(3) She does not disapprove of the acquisition of farmland.
(4) She has no objection to the acquisition of multi-crop farmland.
(5) She does not find it exceptionable to build industries on fertile farmland.
(a) Then,why did she subject herself to 26-day-long hunger-strike that could have made her meet with her premature doom?
(b) Why did she force the Tatas to abandon their project at Singur?
(c) Why should she always side with the 'unwilling' at Nandigram,at Singur,and at Rajarhat?
(d) Why should she still want to return 400 acres of the acquired land to the 'unwilling'?
(e) What is the rationale behind enacting a new law (ie the SLRD Act 2011) with the view of giving back to the 'unwilling' 'equivalent' quantities of land inside the former Tata compound?
[(3) See ANANDABAZAR PATRIKA dated 05/02/11.]
95 Is she,as some people claim,highly politically motivated so that whatever she does or says are dictated by only one motivation,ie to gain some political mileage?
96 Can a rational being carry on fasting for as long as 26 days without a break for winning some political mileage alone?
97 Doesn't the way she behaved justifiably prompt one to feel dubious as to whether she is quite right in the head or whether she belongs to the category of sensible humans?
98 In February this year she also,reportedly,passed this comment : 'Armed with laws,I don't dispossess people of their land by force.To lay rails,a slice of land is needed.I'd pay the market price for their land to them whose land I'd take and also give a job to one member of their family.I won't implement any railway project on their land who'd refuse to transfer their plots.That hardly matters to me.'(4)
(a) Isn't the first sentence of the above statement a reflection of her known,uncompromising stand on this question which leaves little room for negotiation?
(b) Doesn't what she said next amount to admitting to the fact that if she were ever faced with a situation in which she must make a choice between the acquisition of land by force on the one hand and abandoning the developmental projects altogether on the other,she would opt for the latter?
(c) And isn't implicit in it,either,her frank admission that she is not endowed with the intellectual faculties necessary to turn the 'unwilling' into the 'willing' through negotiation and persuasion?
(d) Doesn't it seem implied in the cited statement of hers that in such contexts she would always side with .the 'unwilling' to frustrate the just aspiration of the 'willing'?
(e) Isn't it implied,either,that she would stand up for giving up a project for only one 'unwilling' person as against the 'willing' hundreds favouring it?
(f) Would she still claim to be pro-industry and pro-development?
[(4) See ANANDABAZAR PATRIKA dated 11/02/11.]
99 Are the TMC chief and her followers for democracy or against it?
100 Are they for 80 per cent or for only 20 per cent?
101 Do they agree that the former LF government was a democratically elected popular government mandated to acquire land for the industrialisation of Bengal?
102 Do they agree that land in Singur was acquired by force of an effectual piece of Central legislation(viz The Land Acquisition Act 1894)?
103 Do they agree that the TMC chief's 26-day-long fasting was opposed to the Left Front's electoral promise and the mandate they received in the 2006 elections?
104 Wasn't her 26-day-long fasting unto death,like the similar acts of Hazare and Ramdev and co,an attempt to blackmail a legitimate government?
105 Are they aware that the SLRD Act 2011aims at satisfying the desire of those who account for less than 20 per cent of the total landowners and less than 30 per cent of the total share-croppers related to the acquired land in Singur?
106 Are they aware that humans are not on a par with each other in terms of their intellectual capacity and that not all citizens are equally sensible and responsible?
107 Aren't there some who are nitwitted,silly,irresponsible,and obstinate?
108 Isn't it astonishing that she always stands by the silly,irresponsible,and wayward few and ignores the sensible and responsible majority?
109 Does she agree that in general,like public industries,private industries serve public purposes too?
110 Does she deny the fact that private industries also benefit the masses by generating employment opportunities and thereby bringing about the economic uplift of the have-nots?
111 Of course,she is not opposed to the acquisition of land for public purposes,is she?
112 Is she in favour of banning the use of fertile farmland for industrial projects?
113 Is she in favour of banning the use of fertile farmland for all developmental projects including building roads,laying railway tracks,building embankments,etc,etc,too?
114 Is she also against the acquisition of multi-crop farmland for defence purposes?
115 If she is not against the use of fertile farmland for defence purposes and for the developmental projects stated above,then what rationale justifies her rigid opposition to the acquisition and use of fertile land for industries?
116 Does she consider that industries play a secondary part in the development of society, and, therefore, the industrial projects do not precisely belong to the category of developmental projects?
117 Does she view an industrial project as playing a secondary part in the economic advancement of the poor multitude?