September 1st, 2016
A historic day for the people of Singur in West Bengal. The reason for their agony is partially over as the Supreme Court yesterday set aside the controversial acquisition of 997.11 acres of land in the area in 2006 by the then Left Front government in the state to set up Tata Motor’s Nano car manufacturing plant.
The bench comprising justices Gopala Gowda and Arun Kumar Mishra ruled the state government to take possession of the land and re-distribute it among the landowners within 12 weeks’ time. The farmers have also been asked to not return the compensation received by the government as they were deprived of their livelihood for the last 10 years.
According to the bench’s verdict, the state had acquired the land illegally. Though states can acquire agricultural land for industrial purposes, it is better to not use multiple-crop producing land in such cases.
The verdict is being seen as a major setback to Tata Motors. West Bengal’s Chief Minister has called it a victory of the people. Mamata Banerjee, then as a leader of opposition in the state, had spearheaded the agitation of the farmers against the then Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, which gained her support and her party Trinamool Congress came to power in 2011.