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Marxist Hallucination Palash Biswas

Marxist Hallucination
Palash Biswas
Published 14 January, 2007
MACBETHIs this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.
Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going;
And such an instrument I was to use.
Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses,
Or else worth all the rest; I see thee still,
And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
Which was not so before. There's no such thing:
It is the bloody business which informs
Thus to mine eyes. Now o'er the one halfworld
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate's offerings, and wither'd murder,
Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf,
Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace.
With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design
Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,
Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
Thy very stones prate of my whereabout,
And take the present horror from the time,
Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives:
Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.

A bell rings
I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.
Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell
That summons thee to heaven or to hell.

( From Macbeth by william Shakespear)
My father Pulin Kumar Biswas never believed communists after Telengana and Dhiri Block betrayal. During seventies, while I was engaged in students` movement and later in Uttarakhand sangharsha Vahini, he would never listen any reference to ideology. Rather he sounded like George Bernard Shaw who said, `"The Apple Cart exposes the unreality of both democracy and royalty as our idealists conceive them." In fact, The Apple Cart is a treatise on the impossibility of any kind of government. Democracy, autocracy, and monarchy are all making the best of a bad situation, and none of them is doing very well. Shaw is no anarchist; he simply wants us to recognize, as King Magnus does, the invisible shackles that trip government and turn it into a farce. Shaw wrote in the `Preface to Apple Cart', Besides, the conflict is not really between royalty and democracy. It is between both and plutocracy, which, having destroyed the royal power by frank force under democratic pretexts, has bought and swallowed democracy.  Money talks: money prints: money broadcasts: money reigns; and kings and labor leaders alike have to register its decrees, and even, by a staggering paradox, to finance its enterprises and guarantee its profits.  Democracy is no longer bought: it is bilked.  Ministers who are Socialists to the backbone are as helpless in the grip of Breakages Limited as its acknowledged henchmen: from the moment when they attain to what is with unintentional irony called power (meaning the drudgery of carrying on for the plutocrats) they no longer dare even to talk of nationalizing any industry, however socially vital, that has a farthing of profit for plutocracy still left in it, or that can be made to yield a farthing for it by subsidies.'
Ideology sounds always good. It was good enough in Soviet Union and in the entire communist world. What happened , it is history.
I was just born and I have simply no memory of Dhimri Block uprising in Himalayan terai. but I had enough opportunity to witness the trail and victimisation. In late sixties the communists in terai played the role of landbrokers in the same way as buddha is doing it in West Bengal on full scale. In our Bengali Refugee areas the communist villages were Netaji Nagar, Vijay Nagar, Pipulia, Chandipur, etc. Most of the communist peasants in these villages lost their land and leaders had their hand.
When Bengali refugees settled in MP, Maharashtra, Andhra and Orrissa were planning to launch Marichjhapi agitaion, my father Pulin Kumar Biswas went to Mana Camp and tried to convince the refugees that it will be a folly to depend on the communist leaders in West Bengal. Jyoti Basu had visited Vilai and ram chatterjee went to mana to mobilise the agitation. Since my father has a very good relations with ND Tiwari and KC pant, the rfugee leaders did not believe him . He was the president of all India Bengali Refugee committe. He was mishandled and was saved by police. My father came back to Nainital and no refugee joined this Matrichjhapi movement under his influence ie UP, Bihar and Assam. What happened is Marichjhapi genocide by the Jyoti Basu government. I also protested the movement purely on ecological ground as I believed that sundar Van must be protected and Marichjhapi won`t solve the refugee problem. My father was very sad that no refugee movement could be mobilised in bengal and he held left responsible for this.
My father died in 2001. I still have faith in communist ideologybut I see the picture of ideological betrayal very clear. Sumit Sarkar and Tanika Sarkar always supported CPI-M and they are out to lodge their protest on indiscriminate land garbbing. Mahashweta Devi, arundhati Roy, Aparna Sen, Meeratul Naher, Ratan Basu Majumdar and the entire Bengal intellegentia is known for its left ideology. Even Medha Patekar launched so many movements with left countrywide. Now everyone is against left. Why? so everyone turns to be Naxalite!
On friday, Aparna sen and Shaoli Mitra led a demonstration by intellectuals. Participants were:Arpita Ghosh, Sunand Sanyal, Kaushik Chattopadhyaya, Pratul chakrabarti,Chaitali Dutt, Tarun Nashkar, Gauri Bandopadhyay, Anadi Basu, Kaushik Ghosh, Meeratun naher, Kakoli Majumdar, Kalyan sengupta, Ratan Basu Majumdar, Debbrata Panda, Apurba Biswas, Prashant Sikdar, Kartik saha, Siddikullah Chaudhari, ashok Samanta, tapan roychoudhari, ajanta Ghosh, Swaraj Sengupta and many more.
Buddhadev and CPI-M leaders were alleging that Jamaje Ulema Hind is misleading peasant with Naxalites. Leftists accused of communalism against Jamate Ul Hind. The party and governement could not speak to naxalites but the chief minister talked to Jamat leaders with other prominent Muslim leaders to convince tyhe Muslim Vote Bank.
Thus, capitalist development, globalisation, industrilisation, party, Marxist ideology, vote bank, popular progressive image, altogether caught Buddhadev in a situation of Macbeth`s Halucination and this is Marxist Halucination.Buddha simply ignores Left, right, Centre.
 The Left and its allies may have fought for stopping use of agricultural land for Special Economic Zones (SEZ) but in West Bengal, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee says it's impossible to conform to the Centre's stipulation. JSW Steel, which signed an MoU with the Bengal government, would need around 4,800 acres for the 10-million tonne steel plant. According to the government, not more than 100 acres of farmland could be acquired. However, the JSW deal was an exception and in fact the proposed industrial projects would eat up a substantial portion of agricultural land in the state. Even the fertile tracts will have to be sacrificed.

The Left Front wants use of multicrop land for SEZ restricted at 10 per cent, but Bhattacharjee says departures are bound to happen in Bengal."I think it is not possible to apply in our state because 62 per cent is agricultural land and at least 70 to 80 per cent is fertile land. But we'll compensate by improving the productivity of land we have," says Bhattacharjee.

Singur is a case in point. While dated government records show barely 10 per cent of the acquired 997-acre plot yielded more than one crop a year, villagers claim exactly the opposite.

After months of debate, government officials admit productivity of land had improved since records were last updated, and the 10 per cent figure wasn't correct.

After Singur and Nandigram, partners of the CPM have distanced themselves from Bhattacharjee. And with departures happening from hallowed political beliefs of the Left Front, building a consensus amongst allies wouldn't be easy.
Bhattacharya did not commit 'big blunder', says Yechuri. Here you are! The JNU based 21st century leadership which have no grassroots like Sunderaiya, Namboodaripad, Pramod Dasgupta, Jyoti Basu, surjeet, have chosen to support the erring chief minister and are quite in a hurry to annihilate the party support base.  Yechuri replied: 'What she has given is being inquired into by the government and till now 350 acres of what she claims as part of the acquired land is outside of this land. The affidavits that have been filed do not fall under the purview of the acquired land... 350 acres is entirely from outside.' 
Yechuri also insisted in an interview to Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN that the West Bengal government used force to take over land from farmers in Singur village for a Tata car project.
Fervently and repeatedly and at times angrily, the Rajya Sabha MP said Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya had not admitted to committing a 'big blunder' in Nandigram where violence sparked by angry farmers led to four deaths.'There is no blunder ... I am sorry. Don't quote to me what appears in the press. I know what he said,' Yechuri said.
Pointed out reports where Bhattacharya is quoted as saying that the Nandigram violence happened 'because of our mistake ... it was a big blunder', Yechuri snapped: 'It was not said to journalists. They all picked it up from god knows where.'
Instead, Yechuri said: 'The Haldia Development Authority issued some instruction which was not its mandate. That instruction is the cause for a lot of confusion. 'Please go by his - written statement which is available on the web and where he says it was - the - Development Authority which has no authority on this issue.'
On Singur, where land acquisition by the government led to a prolonged hunger strike by Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, the CPI-M MP said the party had actually brought to the fore the question of compensation paid to farmers 'to the national agenda'.'The compensation we are giving in Singur is the best and the most exemplary. And now everybody will have to follow suit.'
The state government says that 954 acres of the required 997 in Singur has been voluntarily surrendered. But Mamata Banerjee claims the owners of 464 acres, 46 percent of the total, have filed affidavits in court asserting they have refused to sell their land and refused to accept compensation.
Yechuri replied: 'What she has given is being inquired into by the government and till now 350 acres of what she claims as part of the acquired land is outside of this land. The affidavits that have been filed do not fall under the purview of the acquired land... 350 acres is entirely from outside.'
Asked to comment on charges that violence was used against farmers and people in Singur, he said: 'I contest very, very strongly that all of this happened through brute force. When Mamata Banerjee and Medha Patkar were there on dharna, you had people queuing up to collect compensation cheques. Why? Why are they accepting this package?'
Another village braces for land fight
NARESH JANA  writes in Telegraph, Kolkata
Mahishadal, Jan. 11: A procession of 500 villagers threaded its way yesterday along National Highway-41 in East Midnapore's Mahishadal to express solidarity with the Nandigram farmers in their agitation against acquisition of land.
The villagers have their own reason to rally against acquisition of farmland for industry. A special economic zone and biotechnology park, scheduled to come up in Haldia, spills over to Mahishadal, about 120 km from Calcutta.
The Haldia Development Authority has identified 13 mouzas measuring 24 sq km for acquisition.
"The farmers in Nandigram have showed us how to build up a movement against land acquisition. We will prevent land acquisition in Mahishadal, too," said 24-year-old Uttam Shau, a farmer who owns four bighas in Dakshin Kashimnagar, and one of those leading the procession at Garughata.
Haldia Development Authority chairman and Tamluk MP Lakshman Seth, however, said the quantum of land to be acquired and the land map were yet to be drawn up. "We have only identified the mouzas."
A notification similar to the one which led to the flare-up in Nandigram was sent by the Haldia Development Authority to the block development office in Mahishadal on December 28 last year.
"We came to know about the land acquisition preparations on September 13 last year when the block development officer was in the process of drawing up a list of the mouzas. We immediately set up a committee to build up a movement," said Tapan Maity, the local committee secretary of the SUCI in Mahishadal and convener of the Jami Banchao Bastu Banchao Committee.
Maity said the committee was set up with active participation of the local SUCI, Trinamul Congress and even the CPI. Both the pradhans of Itamogra-I and Itamogra-II gram panchayats belong to the CPI and the party is a dominant force at the panchayat level.
"People have voted me to power for seven consecutive terms. If I don't participate in the movement, it will be a betrayal on my part," said Sudhanshu Sekhar Barik, pradhan of Itamogra-II.
The CPI panchayat samity member of Mahishadal, Nirmal Kumar Das, is one of the assistant secretaries of the committee.
Medha to Nandigram: Don't drop guard against 'Yuddhadeb' 

Express News Service 

Kolkata, January 12: After a bitter struggle with the police for the past two days Medha Patkar finally reached Nandigram on Friday afternoon. Along with environmentalist Swami Agnivesh and some other leaders, the social activist addressed a meeting of farmers, protesting against the state governments proposed land acquisition drive for a SEZ project in the area. Patkar warned the villagers in Nandigram that there was no reason to slacken the vigil against the government machinery's move to acquire land, for the attack will come in a different form.
Dubbing Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee as "Yuddhadeb," Patkar said Nandigram has shown the rest of the country how to resist the government's "ill-conceived steps". She said though the government has retracted for the time being, it is definitely not the end of the struggle for the villagers. She also exhorted the women of Nandigram to mount a vigil since the attack will now come "in a different form" �� the lure of money. When the monetary bait comes, families, she warned, may split down the middle.
The women, thus, will have to guard against such moves, she said. Patkar said the 80,000 families of Nandigram were enough to ward off any future attack, provided the people remained united as they are at present.
Telling the locals that there is no need to take up arms, she said the human cordon would be enough to thwart the government's land acquisition efforts.
The anti-Narmada dam agitation leader said her demonstration in West Bengal is an eye opener. Though she has till date organised several movements in Maharashtra, the Marxist government's response to her agitation against land acquisition in Singur and Nandigram was totally unexpected, she added.
Meanwhile, a close associate of Patkar said there was no reply from CPI(M) state secretary Biman Bose, against whom she had served a defamation notice. The spokesman for National Alliance for People Movement said Patkar would return to Nagpur temporarily but would be back soon.
Nandigram students rise against principal
Posted Saturday , January 13, 2007 at 16:47
NANDIGRAM CONCERNS: Farmers have been resisting land acquisitions for setting up an SEZ.
New Delhi: The unrest in Nandigram in West Bengal took a different turn when students and their parents of a school locked up the Headmaster for closing the school without any notice and allowing the Communist Party of India (CPI) to hold a meeting in the school premises.When students arrived at the Benoy Bandhupur Kandu Parash primary school, they found it shut and saw that CPI West Bengal state secretary Manju Majumdar was holding a meeting there with around 200 people. After the meeting, the students and their parents locked the Headmaster Bidesh Patra in his room.
Majumdar told PTI that the CPI had asked the headmaster for permission to hold the meeting and thought it unfortunate that the headmaster had not issued any notice to the students or their guardians that the school would be closed.
Nandigram had witnessed a seesaw battle on early Sunday morning between CPM supporters and protesting farmers, who were resisting land acquisitions for setting up an SEZ for the Salim group of Indonesia.
AI Index: ASA 20/004/2007
News Service No: 006
11 January 2007
India: Deaths in West Bengal during protest against new industrial project

As protests by farming communities fearing displacement from their land as a result of a new industrial project continue to lead to violence in West Bengal (Eastern India), Amnesty International is concerned at reports that state officials may be responsible for, or complicit in, human rights abuses including torture and the death or injury of protestors following the use of excessive and unnecessary force.
At least seven people were reported killed and at least 20 others injured since 7 January in continuing violence in Nandigram, Eastern Midnapore district, West Bengal where farmers are protesting an initiative by the Bengal state government to acquire land for a new industrial project. Among those killed was a 14-year-old boy.
Violent clashes in Nandigram reportedly involved members of the local Krishjami Raksha Committee (Save Farmland Committee) and persons linked to the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), which leads West Bengal's Left Front government and is seeking to
accelerate the development of industrial projects in the state.
Human rights organisations allege that the farmers were attacked by armed men affiliated to the CPI-M acting in complicity with the police. The reports say the attackers fired at the farmers and branded some of them with hot iron rods as "punishment" for protesting against the industrial project. There have been reports of farmers carrying out attacks on local CPI-M offices in the area, forcing them to flee elsewhere.
In this context, Amnesty International urges the Government of West Bengal to: order an impartial and independent inquiry into the Nandigram violence, promptly make the findings public and prosecute those accused of violence; ensure that all state officials, including police personnel, who are suspected of being responsible for human rights violations, including excessive use of force, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are prosecuted;
release those detained without any specific criminal charges at Nandigram and ensure that activists and other individuals engaged in peaceful protests should be able to do so without fear of violence, harassment or false accusation of involvement in criminal activities.
Amnesty International believes that full consultations about the human rights impact of economic decisions with those to be affected are vital means through which human rights are safeguarded in the context of development. In this respect, the organization calls on the Government of West Bengal to: announce and implement a consistent policy of full consultation with local populations before any development which could affect their livelihood can take place and ensure that, where populations are resettled, there is just, adequate and culturally-sensitive rehabilitation, resettlement and reparation for those affected.
Since 3 January 2007, Nandigram has witnessed protests by local farmers after they came to know about a notification issued by authorities at the neighboring Haldia port identifying their lands as sites to be acquired for the new chemical production project. This notification has since been withdrawn by the West Bengal government which has stated it would "exercise caution" while going ahead with the project.
The project reportedly requires at least 4,000 hectares of land for setting up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) which would be jointly developed as a chemical hub by the state-owned Industrial Development Corporation and the Indonesia-based Salem group of companies. Another SEZ promoted by the same group is also reportedly planned in the Haldia area.
The protests at Nandigram followed unrest in Singur (West Bengal) in December 2006, when opposition parties and a number of farmers threatened with displacement by a state government move to acquire farm land for a Tata Motors' automobile manufacturing project prompted demonstrations. The West Bengal state government plans to set up at least six other major industrial projects, including SEZs, in the state, necessitating the acquiring of at least 10,000 hectares of land.
In a bid to boost national economic growth, India has been promoting SEZs across the country. The policy of acquiring land for such industrial projects has sparked protests from local communities fearing land displacement and threats to their sustainable livelihood.
Joe Athialy
Campaigns and Communication Coordinator
Amnesty International India
Consent for 960 acres in Singur, a telegraph story:
-Govt publishes details of landowners who have no objection to Tata Motors project, Mamata cries foul Calcutta, Jan. 12: The government today published a detailed list of plots totalling 960.13 acres that were acquired for Tata Motors with the consent of landowners in Singur, but Mamata Banerjee branded it a lie. The list trashes Trinamul Congress's claim that 464 acres out of the 997.11 acres required for the Tata project was forcibly acquired. The government issued a release today saying that the details on Singur were available on its official
The 372-page list contains the names of over 15,000 people in five Singur mouzas �� Bajemelia, Beraberi, Khasherbheri, Singherbheri and Gopalnagar �� who consented to the acquisition, their plot areas and khatian (holding) numbers.
Land minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah said: "We have published a detailed list of those who have given consent to the Tata project. So, Trinamul's claims that 464 acres were forcibly acquired are untenable."
"The information on the website is false and we shall come out with our own list detailing the names of farmers whose land was forcibly acquired for the project," a Trinamul leader quoted Mamata as saying tonight.
Trinamul MP Mukul Roy said the party has already submitted to the governor documents that show 464 acres had been taken away without owners' consent.
The government, however, had said earlier that the list contained names of many whose land had not been acquired at all as they were outside the area earmarked for the small-car plant.
Officials in the commerce and industries department said tonight that the website would speak for itself about the government's assertion on consent from a majority of the farmers.
"Let Trinamul come out with its list, people will understand which one is correct," an official added. Becharam Manna, the convener of the Save Farmland Committee, said he has begun mobilising people for a fresh round of protests. "We are least bothered about the government's claims. The people here know what is what. We shall meet tomorrow to chart the course of our action," he said.

My game is red, a  DNA analysis by Sayandeb Chowdhury :
Thursday, January 11, 2007  23:59 IST
The only inspiration for the opposition in Bengal is CPI(M)'s flawed past

The game of realpolitik involves a hidden streak of the unsaid and the unuttered, which does not show up on camera in two-second bites. But certain historical junctures bring to the surface those fault lines and ironies. The Singur and Nandigram issues have all the makings of a conflict that can force open those fault lines in Bengal.

There is no certainty that anytime soon, Mamata Banerjee's madness, like that of King George the Fifth, will surrender to the voices of reason. It is similarly unlikely that CPI(M) will let the Tatas run away from the state like their brethren did in the sixties and seventies. Big capital, frightened by the spectre of communism, had then sought shelter in Mumbai and elsewhere.

But old cultures die hard; in Bengal politics, often they don't. So in a display of supreme irony, now the Leftists are the flag-bearers of capital and Mamata is the obstructer-in-chief, eyeing the vast rural base of the CPI(M).

The style and maybe the substance have transmuted. But the culture hasn't. Mamata's show of public defiance and disruption, owes its genealogy to the CPI(M), whose cadres were well tutored in disruptive and dissident tactics. Mamata has only taken over from where the CPM left off.

But how and when did the CPM vacate that space in the first place? Why did it leave the hallowed, if somewhat hollowed communist chimera and embrace what, by any accounts, is pure capitalism? Was it externally driven �� the collapse of the Soviet Union, the changing economic landscape in China or Vietnam �� or did it have an internal, purely domestic impetus? No doubt the old communist dreams of those countries had helped the CPI(M) dangle the carrot of a great future to its followers. Bengal had seen its industries vanish and the impoverished population bought into the CPI(M)'s grand project.

Part of the Party's political base was in the industrial wastelands where people were left jobless due to the flight of capital. The other part were the farmers who joined the CPI(M) in the hope of transforming their lives; after the Green revolution had bypassed them.

To keep its rural and mofussil base intact, the CPM had to show itself to be anti-metropolitan, which meant attacking computerisation and taking English out of primary education. The result? Bengal's present crumbled under the weight of a future that would never come. The CPI(M) stood by paternalistically, guarding a generation that grew up totally unsure of itself and its place in the world. 

But, the world was changing outside and with it, India was experiencing convulsions, too. As other states began prospering once reforms were instituted, there were those in the CPI(M) who realised that the myth of a prosperous agrarian Bengal would be unsustainable for long. To make sure the state grew out of stagnancy, it had to change tracks and embrace speedy industrialisation. Which meant a change in its party culture �� the strikes, the bandhs and the violence that had become hallmarks of the CPM's style of functioning.

Also, by the mid-nineties, the Left parties' vote share started dwindling from a healthy 40 per cent that it had enjoyed in the 80s. In fact, at any time during the nineties, a united opposition could have dislodged the CPI(M). Some party leaders quickly saw the writing on the wall. They realised that globalisation was raising expectations even among its own faithful. Younger Bengalis did not see merit in the party's anti-technology stance. There was a real danger that the party would become irrelevant. The future was already here; there was no time to lose.

Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was  quick on the uptake and saw that the future of his party was not in peddling empty aphorisms to the  hoi polloi. It was in making peace and working alongside the middle class. Braving the objections of his colleagues, especially at the centre, he has forged on, wooing capital from within and outside the country. The middle-class shifted to him in droves.

The danger is that he may have left his traditional bases open to others like Mamata, who has spotted the chinks in the party's armour. Not only has she studied the CPM's political language carefully, she has gauged ��perhaps correctly �� that there are still sections in the rural hinterland who may not be in thrall of rapid industrialisation. Like Banquo's ghost, the CPI(M)'s old dreams refuse to fade away.

Now, the poor have found solace with Mamata and her ilk. Mamata on her part has occupied the anti-industry ground and she is finding support and traction. Both sides have exchanged garbs. Meanwhile, Bengal's future glory seems to be in permanent limbo.

Shukla Sen writes:
Singur: The Emperors Have No Clothes
January 12, 2007
How much more will The Hindu defend the Marxist Government of West Bengal? For over a month, the campaign to paint the Marxist Government white has breached all decent limits of "fearless, unbiased" reporting. Not content with the 22 pages it has everyday, The Hindu also wants to use the tiny "Letters to the Editor" column to propagate or rather thrust its views upon readers. Similar to the cry of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee that since all the available land is under cultivation they are forced to encroach upon agricultural land for industrialization, The Hindu seems to say that since all the available space is either filled with news or advertisements (or even Rs 13-per-Sq-cm obituaries), it has no option but to forcibly intrude into the only available space on the paper, the "Letters to the Editor" columns.

Look at this piece that was published two days ago.

The report that six persons died in clashes in Nandigram, West Bengal, following rumours of land acquisition for a Special Economic Zone, is disturbing."Rumors"? What rumors? When you turn two pages you find where Mr. Bhattacharjee admitted that the Haldia Development Authority did issue a notice to acquire land and the said authority is headed by a CPI(M) MP. Why publish letters that are factually incorrect? Incidentally, all the letters are from people who are more that 2000 kms from West Bengal. What a representative collection of letters! As if that was not enough, yesterday's edition carries another letter toeing the line of The Hindu and coming from a non-West Bengal location. The death of six persons in clashes instigated by some organisations in Nandigram is unfortunate. The fact that these organisations played up rumours of land acquisition saying the West Bengal Government had issued eviction notices, when the reality is that it has not even completed the identification of lands, shows their vested interest.

The other letter in the column too supports the Marxists. Readers often look towards the letters to learn the dissenting or the alternative points of view. In the first place, the reporting on the Singur issue has been very one-sided. Ms. Medha Patkar and Ms. Arundhati Roy, who usually get lavish space, are now given single-column insignificant coverage. By publishing letters that just mimic the articles, The Hindu is forcing regular readers like me to look for alternative sources of news. The fine line between your beliefs and the truth is always sacrosanct. In this editorial, where they term Mamata Banerjee's fast as "high-wire theatrics" and "meaningless" ,has breached that line. The editorial, which also commends Mr. Bhattacharjee' s handling of the issue, give us an FAQ on Singur. What are the key facts about Singur? The State Government went about acquiring the land sought by Tata Motors not by dispossessing the people on the highly fragmented land, but by seeking their consent through offering compensation that was significantly higher than the market price. The moot issue is not the price but the consent of the landowners and rehabilitation and that has been consciously eclipsed.

The biggest lie that Chief Minister Bhattacharjee has been repeatedly telling is that the lands have been acquired with the consent of the landowners. But the "Final Report on Singur", available on the website of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation, reveals a different story. Consent under section 11(2) is a means of involvement of the citizen in determination of award. However, non-submission of consent in writing in terms of Section 11(2) does not prevent the Collector from declaring the award and acquiring the land. For those landowners who do not submit consent in writing under Section 11 (2), the Collector shall proceed under Section 11(1) and declare the award and such awardees will not receive the additional 10%. Hence, irrespective of the landowner's consent, the lands have been acquired by the West Bengal Government.
About the author: Palash Biswas writes from Gosto Kanan, Sodepur, Kolkata-700110, India. Contact details: Phone: 033-25659551, e-mail: