Thursday, December 07, 2006

Documentary on Singur issue

There is a very informative documentary on the Singur issue titled 'Abaad Bhumi' which I finally got around to watching in full (it's 59 minutes long), and I regret doing this so late. It examines several aspects of the entire issue -- including the fertility of the land, the reliability of promises made regarding rehabilitation of the peasants, similar issues from the past.

For people who can't download/watch the entire documentary, here are some extracts:
This shows how fertile the land being sold off for industrialisation
at Singur is and effectively counters arguments against its value in
terms of productivity and yield.

This shows how farmers will lose their livelihood and their economic
condition will worsen if the factory replaces the agricultural land
(despite claims denying this).

This shows the story of how the Tata Metaliks factory near Kharagpur
worsened the condition of the peasants previously living/farming there.

This shows how badly-hit end-of-the-line farmers (for whom the land is
their life) will be, and also shows how bigger land-owners who have
other sources of income are ready to sell the land for a good price.

The original documentary from which these have been extracted is also
very much worth watching.

Also, here are some clips of recent events at Singur:

1. Police violence on farmers

2. Ground realities at Singur (CNN-IBN)

3. Picture of compensation given to farmers

Update from Mathurapur, 3rd December 2006

by Sombodhi, AID Kolkata

We are currently focussing on the preventive part of healthcare..
In fact we have repeatedly observed that these rural villagers lack the basic awareness related to health and hygiene. So we are planning to launch massive awareness camps..
We will also be conducting health-related surveys to create a database for the villages for reference on our further works and projects...

We are also in talks to start off with a night school-vis a vis a Community Developement Centre which will work to create social awareness amongst people/work towards promoting primary education and also try and create different Self-Help Groups which will be working to promote employment generation for these people....

For employment generation activities we are focussing on teaching the people to make paper fact we are in the process of doing a market survey to identify what the market demands are and how we can cater to a small fraction of it..We have identified paper bags as its very easy to make and though the profit margin is low the market demand is huge and the supply is inadequate..Infact we not only plan at making simple thongas but also will be tryin to teach the villagers to make hardier paper bags which will carry more weight and can be used by various Super-marts/malls...

As have already been said over and over again we are in dire need of volunteers who can spare some time and effort/ideas which will help us do more work in a more efficient manner..All the plans we have outlined here are already in the implementation phase and we will be delighted if more people can come forward to help us...
we do need funds and volunteers to carry these projects please come forward...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Singur: violence continues even as Medha Patkar arrives

Published in The Statesman, 3rd December 2006

Sign the petition if you want to stand by the farmers of Singur

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Singur: why snatch away fertile land from farmers?

Many people are actually supporting the eviction of farmers from the (very fertile) land which has fed them for years in order that a state-of-the-art automobile factory can come up. What needs to be realised is that technological progress at the cost of human and ecological tragedy is worthless. And those supporting the government's and the automobile manufacturer's actions need to understand that this is both a human and an ecological tragedy. How this is a human tragedy is very easy to see. Suppose, one fine morning you are driven out of your job (don't jump and say 'I'll find another one') since (rather like a spaceship blasting away the earth as it was obstructing an inter-galactic highway in H2G2) a huge palace is being built where your company stood -- and by a turn of circumstances your only job in hand is being a sweeper in the palace. If you find this a helpless situation, maybe you will see the plight of the many farmers who are being robbed of their livelihood. As for the ecological part, it is even more simpler. We don't feed on automobiles. By using fertile land for such purposes we are actually robbing our children of food.

Here's a nice and long documentary on the issue by Sumit Choudhury, a documentary film-maker:

And here's the latest video report from Singur, courtesy IBN