Sunday, October 12, 2008

Don't Cry For Nano

Beyond Nano

Dear Mr. Batra,

Subho Vijaya to you and Mrs. Batra. This is how we Bengalees wish our near and dear ones after our Durga Puja which has just concluded.

Next, I would congratulate you having snatched away Nano from W. Bengal to Gujarat. I admire Mr. Modi having done it without any fuss and without extending any undue and unethical advantages to Tatas. My hunch is, it is the fear of exposure of these undue advantages that the Tatas have turned their tail to W. Bengal. The unbelievable pampering of the Tatas by our Buddhadeb Bhatterjee & CPI (M) which was already in the air, has been transparent by virtue of putting up the terms with the Tatas on website for a few hours under public pressure which was, however, withdrawn on a snub from the Tatas. But for the few hours it was there on the website, were enough for the smart people to download it and make it public. Of course, after withdrawal of the Tatas it is a non-issue and won’t be rubbed any more. Yet, it appears, the Tatas have by no means just written off these advantages, particularly the easy terms on which they acquired the land here. They will retain the land and will revert to Singur to start their operations at some opportune moment in future, at least on the portion they had from the so-called ‘willing’ farmers who have accepted monetary compensation for their land.

Over the last 3 decades CPI (M) turned West Bengal into a graveyard of industries which went to the top position in industrialization among all the Indian states during the time of Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy. With no nobler object, but to tide over the election round the corner CPI(M) wanted to showcase Nano even by ruthless destruction of agriculture and dislodgement of the farmers from the most fertile land in the country, a most horrifying recent record of cruelty and human rights violation.
On the other hand, Modi’s wisdom is exemplary, having sold a Govt. owned land to the Tatas at market price which was an expansive grazing ground for cattle. Needless to say, re-habilitation of the cattle will be much less complex than the humans’ while no significant damage to agriculture will follow.

The really knowledgeable persons, who are ignored by our present Govt., opine that West Bengal is suitable mainly for agro-based industries. The agricultural sector itself employs people in Crores at the field besides creating jobs in Lakhs at the industries related to it, say, jute mills, rice mills, textile mills, paper mills, sugar mills, oil mills etc. Again, while agriculture independent industries (e.g. Nano) add glamour to the life of a handful of well-to-do people, agriculture supports life of the entire mankind. I came across an argument that the agricultural produce of Singur is worth on Rs. 20 Crore annually while Nano’s would be in many a thousand Crore. Without going into the accuracy of these figures, one might argue, the oxygen we breathe has no commercial worth and does not at all figure in our GDP. But, thereby, the essentiality of oxygen to sustain our life is by no means diminished.

Honestly, I am happy that Singur has sent one important message across the country that the process of destruction of agriculture is basically an imbecility and cannot go on ad infinitum. It is also a signal that a de-industrialization uprising is on the horizon at least for those industries falling within our traditional concept, continuously adding to global warming and leading the earth to disaster. Maybe, our future is in the IT and other knowledge industries as it appears from your columns.

Yours sincerely,


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