Speak Out: From Singur to Sompeta: People’s resistance against land grabbing gaining power in India

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In early 2006, Singur in West Bengal became the epitome of peasants’ struggle against neo-liberal expansion in land and livelihoods in India. Meanwhile, in 2010 the struggle in Sompeta exposed politics of ‘power’ in the name of energy production in Andhra Pradesh. Villagers and fishers there resisted the development of a government-backed private thermal power plant, which caused State-wide protest and raised the question of development effectiveness as a whole. Following these events, Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP) supported local movements and organised international fact-finding missions (IFFM) in both Singur and Sompeta in order to highlight actual scenarios of the cases world-wide. As an impact of the IFFM, local movements received world-wide support from various groups and pressure was built up on the government to revise their plans, as per peoples’ demands. In both cases the movements were strong and sustained. They carried out demonstrations and other activities in support of their demands for several years. In the end, the proposed development projects in Singur and Sompeta were abandoned. However, no official statement has been issued to date, of complete seizure of the projects, and redistribution of land among the affected persons, have not taken place. Today in Singur (and to some extent in Sompeta) people have very little hope of having their livelihoods restituted, as the media spotlight has shifted from these cases to other ‘breaking’ news, while politicians have also lost interest as the elections in both places were over a few years back. However, the people’s resistance groups are still alive, active and vigilant in both places.

Date Published:
July 5, 2013

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