Household survey in Tata car project area in Singur



Back ground   
                                                                                                                          
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West Bengal Government acquired the 997.11 acres of land for the purpose of giving it to Tata Motors for setting up a small car plant in Singur Block of Hoogly district. Subsequent incidences caused by people protests, police action, fasting by political bigwigs made headlines all over India and even beyond. While the acquired area has been fenced in and is still under heavy police protection and there has been protest forays into the acquired area by the affected villagers, brisk construction work to house factory and related services is going on. One important issue, which is yet to die down, is real farming practices, crop diversity and productivity of the acquired land. On the one hand, quite a large number of cultivators are hoping to get back their land through political agitation and court cases and refused to accept compensation money so far. On the other, the Communist Party of India (Marxists), CPM, tried to draw comforts from any reports that described the acquired areas poor in crop production. According to the documents submitted to the delegates to the Hoogly district CPM conference in December 2007, acquired area had been described as single crop producing (Dainik Statesman 14 December 2007). But the state Chief Minister was reported to have retraced his earlier statement that the area was single crop producing. Government officials of the Agriculture Directorate did not come so far openly on the crop production of the acquired area. However land revenue department officials were more confident in drawing from past records in grading most part of the tract as ‘saali’ (inferior to ‘sona’) in fixing price for the land acquired.

Objective of household survey
There were contradictory statements from different quarters, not without interests- political and otherwise, around the single most important issue of how intensive agriculture is in the Singur block in general and was in particular on the parcels of lands which were taken over by the Government for the Tata car project. The affected farmers can  provide the best answer to the issue of intensity of agricultural practices themselves.
It is therefore imperative that an independent survey following all the rigorous household survey methodology, as far as possible, primarily on crop production and practices is conducted.

Tata Car Project area
Singur is in Hooghly district, 45 kilometers from Kolkata. The nearest railway stations are Singur, Kamarkundu and Madhusudanpur.The farmland earmarked for the project stands alongside an arc of the Durgapur expressway near the Ratanpur crossing with NH1. The six mouzas whose land falls under the Tata project site are Gopal Nagar, Bera Beri, Bajemelia, Khaserbheri, Singher Beri and Joymollar Beri. They stand on the other side of the project site completing the expressway's arc into a circle.
According to the Status Report circulated by the CPM Delhi State Secretary P S Grewal on Singur, the acreage falling within the tract acquired by the West Bengal government for the Tata project are:

                          Mouza Land                                                      (in acres)
                         Gopalnagar                                                 399
                          Beraberi                                                     327.21 
                          Bajemelia                                                   47.77 
                          Khaserbheri                                                 180
                          Singher Beri                                                41.47
Survey households
Survey was conducted during June-July 2007 among households having cultivable own/lease in plots taken over by the government in Beraberi Mouza and residing in Purba Beraberi hamlet. Ninety one cultivating households, including five cultivating ones without own cultivable land were covered.  Information on crop production during one crop year preceding land take over i.e. during the period from 1.5.2005 to 30 April 2006 was collected from survey households.Non crop information related to the survey day i.e during the period June -July 2007. All the survey households were hopping  to get back their land through political agitation and court cases and refused to accept compensation money so far.

Survey information
Structured questionnaire were used to collect following information from the survey households:
1. Family Size
2. Gender distribution
3. Primary occupation
4. Education achievements
5. Nature of residential place
6. Size of homestead land
7. Animals and pets maintained  
8. Own cultivable land within and outside  acquired area
9. Gross land leased in/leased out crop wise during one year preceding land take over i.e. during the period from 1.5.2005 to 30 April 2006
10. Cultivated land under different crops during the period from 1.5.2005 to 30 April 2006
11. Production of main crop and by products during the period from 1.5.2005 to 30 April 2006
12. Crops  grown in conjunction with main crops in different seasons( inter cropping), their production and by products during the period from 1.5.2005 to 30 April 2006

Brief  Survey results:

This Internet version incorporates

1. Household wise list of  net cultivable area within and outside the land acquired for Tata project and gross cultivated  area within the acquired area during the period from 1May 2005 to 30 April  2006 (Table I)
2. Size of net cultivated area per household prior to and after Tata land take over (Diagram I)
3. Number of households without own cultivated area prior to and after Tata land take over (Diagram II)
4. Proportionate area of major crops to gross cropped area  within the acquired area during the period from 1 May 2005 to 30 April 2006 (Diagram  III)
5. Productivity of major crops within the acquired area during the period from 1May 2005 to 30 April 2006 (Table II)
6. Multiple cropping index (Diagram IV, V, VI) for different categories of of cultivator household according to land leasing status.                                                                                                download brief internet version
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