Senior West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee on Sunday claimed the Tata Motors had sought land for the Nano car project in Kharagpur, but it was the then Left Front government which had allotted land in Singur for the plant in 2006.
Over three weeks after the Supreme Court struck down the land acquisition for the project and ordered that the land be returned to its original owners, state Education and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chatterjee attacked the Left Front regime for “snatching multi-crop land for the project”.
Addressing a rally in Singur of Hooghly district, about 40 km from Kolkata, Chatterjee said the Trinamool Congress had wanted the Nano to be rolled out from the state. “But we wanted the factory to come up on a land earmarked for industry, and not on multi-crop agricultural land.”
He said as the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly then, he had demanded time and again that the agreement between the Tata Motors and the state government be placed in the House.
“But the Left Front government did not agree. Later, after I became minister, I found out official files that the Tatas had sought land at Kharagpur and not at Singur for the project.”
He also stated that farming will start soon in Singur with the state government leaving no stone unturned to resume the cultivation on the ‘project land’ which was once given to Tata Motors by the erstwhile Left Front government against the will of farmers.
Many other senior Trinamool Congress leaders were also present in the occasion.
He said that the Left Front could have showed it to the state Assembly, if they were so honest and maintained clarity in the agreement.
“The Tatas wished to take land at Kharagpur. But the Front government dragged them here,” Chatterjee added.
Chatterjee added that farmers who hadn’t yet received the cheques, should take it quickly. “Singur will find a place in the history books soon. It will be included in the school curriculum,” Chatterjee said, adding this was a historic win for the farmers of Singur.
Redeeming a pledge she made years back in Hooghly district’s Singur, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had returned 9,117 ‘parchas’ and distributed 806 cheques to the farmers from whom their lands had been taken against their will for the Tata Motors’ Nano plant.
Riding on Supreme Court’s landmark judgment, she returned the lands to the helpless peasants on September 14, which was celebrated as ‘Bijoy Diwas’.
Sunday was celebrated by the Trinamool Congress as ‘Singur Divas’. The party leadership reminded the people about the sacrifice and fight of Mamata Banerjee for this day in 2006, when she lodged demonstration in front of the local BDO office.
It is to be recalled that the state government distributed 9,117 parchas and 806 cheques to the unwilling farmers who also got back their land while willing farmers only got back their land. Out of 997 acre, 623 acre had been demarcated already. The Chief Minister had earlier mentioned that the Singur movement had become a global model of resistance against forcible land acquisition.