The Singur struggle: A timeline

On August 31, 2016, the Supreme Court of India, in a historic judgement declared that the land acquisition made by the erstwhile Left Front Government in Singur was illegal and asked the present Government led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to return the plots to their owners. This was the end of the ten-year struggle started by Mamata Banerjee against illegal land acquisition.

A brief timeline of the events that led to the victory of Mamata Banerjee’s struggle for farmers is as follows:


May 2006: The then West Bengal Government decided to acquire 997 acres (initially 1,013 acres were asked for) for Tata Motors’ small-car factory in Singur in Hooghly district. Almost 6,000 families, including many agricultural workers and marginal peasants, were to lose their land and livelihoods.

There was no compensation for the landless agricultural workers, unrecorded bargadars and other rural households who were indirectly dependent for their livelihood on land and agricultural activities. Almost all the land-owners had also expressed their unwillingness to give their land from the inception of the project, but these appeals had fallen on deaf ears.

July 17: Work on acquisition of land for the factory for producing Nano cars in Singur began. Farmers led by the Trinamool Congress MLA from Singur, Rabindranath Bhattacharjee, lodged protests, saying the State Government was trying to remove them from the land they owned.

September 25: The land in Singur was forcefully acquired. The events showed that the Left Front Government could go to any extent to evict the people and hand over the land to the company officials. More than 400 people, including several women and children, were brutally assaulted and about 78 activists were arrested, which included 27 women and then Member of Parliament Mamata Banerjee.

At around 1.40 in the night, RAF and police together attacked a few thousand men, women and children who had been protesting peacefully all day. A few hundred persons were injured. About 5,000 people, including about 2,000 women, had peacefully demonstrated at the block development office at Singur against the distribution of cheques to peasants under the banner of ‘Singur Krishi Jami Raksha Committee’. Rajkumar Bhul, who was attacked by police, died on September 28.

The struggle of the people nevertheless continued in a democratic and peaceful fashion in the next few months. Marches, rallies and public hearings got organised in Singur and Kolkata.

October 1: On the day of Bijoya Dashami, night vigil was observed in the affected mouzas of Singur. All the villagers in all the villages in Singur block switched off the lights in their houses in the evening as a symbol of protest.

November 30: Assault on Mamata Banerjee who was barred by police from proceeding to Singur. The Government prohibited all assemblies in Singur, displaying its Fascist face.

December 2: Farmers of Khaserbheri, Bera Beri and Gopalnagar gathered to resist the fencing of the proposed project land. Severe police force was used against them, several people were injured and more than 60 people were arrested.

December 4: The Singur agitation intensified with Mamata Banerjee starting a hunger strike at Esplanade in central Kolkata after the State Government had rejected her demand for stopping the fencing work in Singur and the withdrawal of police forces from the area. It lasted 26 days.

December 18: At about 6am, the body of a young activist of the Singur Krishi Jami Raksha Samiti, Tapasi Malik was found burning in the fenced area. The girl was reportedly raped and murdered by miscreants who were present within the guarded area.


October 3: The Nano project is moved out of Bangla.


March 28: Mamata Banerjee announced before the Assembly election that she would do everything to return 400 acres of land in Singur to the unwilling farmers.

May 20: A Trinamool Congress-led Government took oath with Mamata Banerjee as Chief Minister.

June 14: The AITC-led Government passed the historic Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Bill in the Assembly.


August 31: Supreme Court of India terms the land acquisition in Singur illegal and unconstitutional.

Bangla Govt to set up mills for rice and pulses, to be sold from Sufal Bangla stalls

Riding on the success of the Sufal Bangla project, the State Agricultural Marketing Department has decided to set up rice and pulse mills. The products from the mills would be available at the Sufal Bangla stalls.

Rs 7 crore has been allotted for the purpose. The first phase would be completed before the Pujas, whence two rice and pulse mills each would be opened at Hemtabad in Uttar Dinajpur and at Ranaghat in Nadia district.

The mills would help preserve the quality of the famous aromatic rice varieties of Bengal, like adanshilpa, tulaipanji, gobindobhog, randhuni pagal, radhatilak, etc. and pulses. The tie-up with Sufal Bangla would enable the State Government to directly sell to the people some of these rare varieties of folk rice, making them widely available and at the right price too (no middlemen involved).

The production of pulses is also rapidly increasing in the State, especially moong, musoor, Bengal gram and khesari. These would be milled at the mill in Ranaghat.

Bengal Govt to open 89 more trekking routes in north Bengal

To draw adventure-loving tourists, both from as well as outside Bengal and also from other countries, the State Tourism Department is sanctioning 89 more trekking routes in north Bengal.

To make it convenient, there would be trekkers’ lodges along the routes. The lodges, basically small cottages, would also have facilities for serving food. Additionally, at these lodges, trekking equipments would also be available on hire.

All these lodges would also lead to the creation of employment opportunities, in regions which are socio-economically backward.

Besides in Darjeeling district, quite a few trekking routes have been discovered in the Dooars region. Since many of these routes pass through regions under the State Forest Department, the Tourism Department is holding talks with it to open up the routes as early as possible.

Source: Ei Samay

Kanyashree & Sabuj Sathi earn Supreme Court’s high praises

The Bengal Government’s flagship girl child empowerment scheme, Kanyashree, a brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has now earned the praise of the Supreme Court too.

A bench of judges of the highest court expressed this opinion during a hearing. The Trinamool Congress counsel in court said that 34 lakh schoolgirls have benefitted from the scheme.

The bench was also full of praises for Sabuj Sathi, the scheme in which bicycles are presented to all school students, both girls and boys, for travelling to school, often from long distances.

Source: Ei Samay

Bengal CM’s brainchild, Rupashree, highly successful in a short time

The Bengal Government is seeing a huge response to its scheme, Rupashree, rolled out across the State as recently as April 1 this year. The Government has received nearly 70,000 applications, of which it has accepted more than 47,233, sanctioning a total amount of more than Rs 118 crore.

The data is was provided by the Women and Child Development & Social Welfare Department, which is implementing the project.

The scheme, a brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, provides a one-time financial assistance of Rs 25,000 to the family of a girl at the time of her marriage, if her family income is less than Rs 1.5 lakh per year.

Murshidabad tops in all the categories – number of applications received, disbursed (or, accepted) and the amount sanctioned. Till July 9, the numbers were 9237, 5288 and Rs 13.22 crore, respectively.

Purulia, South 24 Parganas and Paschim Medinipur are at numbers two, three and four, respectively. The numbers for Purulia are 5870, 5183 and Rs 12,95,75,000, for South 24 Parganas are 5460, 4640 and Rs 11.6 crore, and for Paschim Medinipur are 5274, 4026 and Rs 1 crore.

The State Government has allotted Rs 1,500 crore for the scheme and around 6 lakh families in all are expected be benefitted. More than 2,000 applications on an average are being received every day.

Source: Millennium Post

Bengal Govt to promote bio-fertilisers and technology to increase productivity

The Bengal Government is keen on increasing the productivity of various plants by administering bio-fertilisers and other organic manures. Bio-fertilisers will also save people from the toxic substances used in chemical fertilisers.

The Biotechnology Department is implementing a series of programmes in this regard. Scientists and research fellows are conducting researches on bio-fertilisers.

The Government is planning to open a unit each in all the districts to provide technical assistance to farmers on increasing the productivity of what they produce using bio-fertilisers.

Scientists are also conducting tissue culture as a part of their research work at the district level to increase the productivity of plants.

The department is planning to conduct research on increasing the productivity of foodgrains and vegetables in comparatively unfertile areas of Bankura, Birbhum and Purulia.

The department has also decided to carry out research on increasing the productivity of cattle. The State Government will provide assistance to those who rear cattle.

Source: Millennium Post

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Bengal Govt to set up eco-tourism hub in the Sundarbans

With the aim of promoting the Sundarbans as one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the country, the State Government has taken up an initiative to set up an eco-tourism hub there. It will come up in Jharkhali.

Various Government departments like Tourism, Sundarbans Affairs, etc. are working in coordination to provide world-class facilities, which would attract foreign tourists too.

The hub would have both five-star resorts and budget hotels, cottages, swimming pools, a lake, club house and other facilities. It would be constructed on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis. To augment the infrastructure, the Government is allotting around Rs 90 crore to build roads and bridges in Jharkhali.

As a part of the overall development of the area, all the islands in the Sundarbans would soon be inter-connected – a project for which the State Government would spend around Rs 400 crore.

The State Government has already taken up various schemes to improve the socio-economic condition of the people in the Sundarbans. A comprehensive skill development programme is being conducted among the youth. Hospitality management courses have been started so that the educated but unemployed youth can be trained. Various courses on plumbing and electrical repairs are being conducted in various blocks.

Source: Millennium Post

Mishti Hub in Newtown to be inaugurated today

The Bengal Government’s Mishti Hub in Newtown, on the outskirts of Kolkata, will be inaugurated on July 5. It is the only one of its kind in the State, one which will give buyers an opportunity to have sweets made by the best sweet manufacturers of Bengal under one roof.

This is another one of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s ideas coming to fruition. There is a potential market for Bengali sweets both in the country and abroad. The hub will also give an opportunity to tourists who want to carry the famous mouth-watering sweets back home, as it falls en route to the airport.

The Mishti Hub will house 10 popular sweet manufacturing chains of Kolkata, as well as sweet shops from the districts. To maintain quality, it was decided that those opening shops at the hub must have an experience of 25 years or more.

Mishti Hub will remain open from 12 noon to 9 PM. It is located next to the popular spot of Eco Park. There will be a car parking facility for the buyers as well.

Proper signs will be put up on Biswa Bangla Sarani to facilitate the airport-bound buyers. For the residents of Newtown, this hub will enable them to get the best of Kolkata’s sweets at their doorsteps.

The hub has been built on a shop-in-shop concept. The construction of the hub has been done as a combination of tradition and modernity. A central atrium with glass walls will bring the sunlight inside. There is a driveway and a free parking lot for a limited period of 30 minutes.

Source: Millennium Post

Environment Department: Working towards a more livable future

The scope of work of the Environment Department is very wide, exhaustive and challenging. The wings of the department work in close coordination to fulfil the commitment of the Bengal Government towards its people for a clean and more livable environment – be it in terms of air, water, noise or several other aspects.

For effective control of pollution, a number of steps, measures and policies have been initiated by the Environment Department which include stringent regulations, development and periodical revision of environment standards, control of vehicular pollution, control of air and water pollution, abatement and prevention of noise pollution, revisiting and revision of the list of critically polluted areas and their environment improvement plans, etc.

The department has been funding research projects through grants-in-aid both to its parastatals like West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB), West Bengal Biodiversity Board (WBBB), East Kolkata Wetlands Management Authority (EKWMA) and Institute of Environmental Studies and Wetland Management (IES&WM), and also to some research institutions.

Some of the salient points regarding the working of the Environment Department:

  • WBPCB is constantly monitoring and taking suitable measures for improving air quality and reducing water body pollution.
  • An online system of WBPCB’s consent administration has been developed for transparency. All monitoring data can now be accessed from the board’s website. The consent administration has also been simplified.
  • The ‘consent to operate’ periods have been increased: from two years to five years for Red Category Industries, from three years to five years for Orange Category Industries and from five years to seven years for Green Category Industries. A new White Category has been introduced which only requires the relevant industries to give information to the WBPCB and is exempt from ‘consent’ administration.
  • The State Action Plan for climate change is being amended to strengthen the plan, introduce mitigation measures in addition to adaptation measures and bring it in line with the latest developments in various fields.
  • Actions on conservation of biodiversity, preparing a comprehensive register and promoting conservation have been accelerated.
  • A lot of work has been done for restoration and beautification of many waterbodies.
  • More emphasis has been laid on organising awareness activities to spread environment education among all sections of society and mobilising people’s participation for preservation and conservation of environment.

Source: Departmental Budget

State Forest Dept to plant more than 3.5 lakh saplings in Buxa Tiger Reserve

With the aim of increasing the green density in the State, the Bengal Government has decided to plant more than 3.5 lakh saplings in the Buxa forest in north Bengal. The planting of the saplings by the Forest Department’s administration in Buxa is taking place across two divisions of Buxa Tiger Reserve – East and West.

The West Division covers 75 hectares and the East Division covers 50 hectares.

The department has plans to plant three types of grass in the deep forest, covering an area of 40 hectares. Buxa Tiger Reserve is also one of the few reserves where mixed varieties of trees have been planted.

The 3.5 lakh saplings include saplings of amlaki, hartaki, chalta, bahera, volker, raidak, turturi, gamari, chikrami and other trees. It has been noticed that fruits of many of these trees are preferred by wild animals like elephants and bison.

Similarly, the varieties of grass being planted, like chepti, dhadda, purundi and ekka, are also preferred by many of the herbivorous animals.

Incidentally, a similar a project is on the verge of completion in the Rajabhatkhawa forest.


Source: Aajkaal