West Bengal’s unemployment rate was 17.4% in 2020, less than the national 23.5%. However, for many in Nandigram, employment is a distant dream. To outsiders, it may seem like this is their own doing for protesting so vehemently against industrialisation in 2007. It was their movement against the setting up of a SEZ across 10,000 acres by Indonesia-based Salim group, that changed the political history of West Bengal. It ended 34 years of Left Front rule and led to the victory of Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.
But for people who have raised and slayed governments, they struggle to make ends meet even after all these years. They say they want industrialisation that will provide them jobs, not upend their lives. In fact, there are acres of government land lying empty—reminders of unfulfilled promises of factories by successive governments.
On this episode of The Suno India Show, our reporter Suryatapa Mukherjee brings you a ground report from the most hotly contested seat in the West Bengal elections. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is contesting against her former right hand man in the region, Suvendu Adhikari, who has now joined BJP. But who is to blame for the job crisis in the region? Listen in.