New Delhi/Kolkata, June 10 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS): Car maker Tata Motors on Friday said it was happy to return the controversial land in Singur if it was paid an adequate compensation on its investment, a day after West Bengal’s new chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced an ordnance to do so.
“We are happy to return the land if it is needed for the development of West Bengal. But Tatas have invested in developing land. So we would expect adequate compensation from the new user,” a statement from Tata was quoted as saying.
Banerjee’s government on Thursday promulgated an ordinance to take back the controversial 997 acres of land allocated to Tata Motors by the previous Left Front regime in Singur for the Nano car factory despite massive protests that finally led to the debacle of the Marxists in the state.
“The 400 acres of land belonging to the unwilling farmers will be returned to the farmers while Tata Motors is free to build their factory on the remaining 600 acres,” Banerjee said at state secretariat Writers’ Buildings.
“We have issued the ordinance. The Governor has signed it. We will now return the land to the unwilling farmers,” she said.
Banerjee said the state government would compensate the Tatas in keeping with legal provisions of the 99-year-old lease if they demanded compensation.
“We can appoint arbitrators to decide the compensation,” said Mamata, who kept her promise to the people of Singur within three weeks of her assumption of power.
In Singur, which is about 40 km from Kolkata in Hooghly district, there was jubilation as the news reached the area.
People smeared each other with abir and women blew conch shells.
Farmers were beaten up in police crackdowns in Singur at the height of the movement since middle of 2006. The land was acquired in 2007 by the government and handed over to the Tatas but they had to move the factory to Gujarat after failing to deal with the sustained protests.
Mamata Banerjee unseated a 34-year-old Left Front government in West Bengal last month riding on a land movement that began with the agitation of farmers led by Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress party in 2006.