The Supreme Court passed a verdict on Wednesday on the five years old land dispute between the state government of WB and Tata Motors Ltd over the abandoned car factory in Singur. The Apex court said in its judgement, the West Bengal government can now take the possession of the land and it directed to give it to the land owners within 12 weeks.
The bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice V Gopala Gowda pronounced the verdict on a batch of petitions which the aggrieved people of Singur in 2008.
The court also announced that the farmers who got the compensation from the government will not return the money as for the last ten years they were deprived from their livelihood.
The SC said about the land acquired by the Buddhadeb Bhattacharya led Left government,”The land acquisition process adopted by the then CPM government, which was opposed by the TMC (Trinamool Congress Party), was wrong on many counts.”
After hearing the verdict the farmers and locals were happy and celebrated by throwing gulal on each other. They raised slogans and praised Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
This year in May, SC heard the appeals of the Bengal government, the Tatas and the farmers of Singur and set aside the verdict in the case.
Also the Association for the Protection of the Democratic Rights challenged the land acquisition which said the acquisition of Singur land for public purpose and gave it to Tata Motors for Nano car project was illegal and violated the land acquisition law.
In the time of 2016 assembly election campaigning in Singur, Mamata Banerjee asserted about her government’s commitment to return the land to the farmers. The CPM state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra contradicted her and said it was not possible to return the land.
During the polling time CPM-Congress alliance candidate Rabin Deb argued that if Nano project was set up in Singur then the entire Bengal would have got the opportunity of industrialization.
In 2008, in the reign of Left government in WB, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya announced that Tata Motors would locate their Nano car project in Singur. For that project around 997 acres of land would be allocated.
Then TMC leader Mamata Banerjee protested and the agitation led by the TMC turned violent. The farmers were taking their compensation cheques from Tata Motors.
Despite the agitation Tata soon completed the construction of the plant and they released their Nano model.
In 2008, the car was showed at the Delhi auto show. However, Mamata Banerjee relentlessly continuing her protest and asserted her party was not anti-industry and the land was belonging to the ‘unwilling farmers’ and they should get it back.
Several intellectuals and environment activists supported her ‘Save Farmland’ movement.
Due to the security concern, in December 2008, Ratan Tata decided to move the Nano plant in Gujarat’s Sanand. Narendra Modi government happily gave the consent and it took 14 months to construct the plant in Gujarat.
In 2011, when Mamata Banerjee became the CM of Bengal, she announced her aim to return the land to the farmers. The West Bengal assembly passed the Singur Land and Rehabilitation Bill, 2011. The Tatas also moved to the court to defend their interest in their leasehold.
CM after the verdict
Mamata Banerjee after the SC verdict delightedly said she can now die in peace. She affirmed,
“I had dreamt of this SC verdict for so long, for the people of Singur. Now I can die in peace. West Bengal is the final industrial destination, keep that in mind.”
She added it has been a wait for 10 years, the victory is for the farmers. “I would expect everyone to celebrate this Singur utsav, it’s like an invocation of the celebration to Durga Puja.” She said after the new name for the state this was a “landmark victory”.
The CM stated that tomorrow a strategy meeting will be called at 4 pm to discuss about the implementation of the deal.