Mamata elated over Apex Court verdict on Singur
A visibly elated West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday welcomed the judgement given by the division bench of the Supreme Court. The division bench, comprising Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice Arun Mishra, declared the acquisition of 997-acre land by the erstwhile Left Front government to help set up Tata’s Nano factory at Singur “unjustified”.
“I have always fought to establish the rights of people. The landmark judgement has put a stamp on a movement against forcible acquisition of land. Now, if I die today, I can even die a peaceful death,” she said.
Welcoming the Apex Court judgement, the Chief Minister dedicated the win to farmers, who laid their lives, and to those, who continued the struggle despite failing to manage two meals a day.
After the judgement was announced, Banerjee held a press conference at Nabbana in the afternoon. “We will follow the judgement of the Apex Court. Let us get the copy of the judgement and there will be a meeting at 4 pm on Thursday to decide the next course of action so that the court’s judgement can be implemented properly. The Supreme Court has directed the state government to return the land to the farmers. Thus, it has to be done properly within the specified time and there has to be a mechanism for the same,” she said.
“The case in which the judgement was delivered today, was related to the aquisition of land by the state government, before it was leased to Tata Motors. Our case, relating to Singur Act 2011, is yet to be heard by the Supreme Court. We will study today’s judgement in detail before commenting further on the same,” said Tata Motors spokesperson.
When asked that whether there was any possibility of setting up a new industry in the Singur land, she said that the state government was bound to follow the direction of the court and it had directed to return the land to farmers.
“Then how is it possible?” she asked adding that earlier her government had repeatedly sent letters urging setting up of a factory in 600- acre of land after returning 400- acre to unwilling farmers. But, their request went unheeded.
Banerjee further said that her next administrative meeting after returning from Rome would be at Singur on September 14 where she would also handover the benefits of various government projects to the people of the area.
A programme to celebrate the historic victory will be organised at Singur after the administrative meeting. She has urged people to celebrate Singur Divas on September 2 in every block of the state including Kolkata paying respect to those who had laid down their lives to fight against the illegal acquisition of land. The Singur movement had given birth to the slogan of the party “Maa Mati manush”.
Stating that Wednesday’s victory would remain a landmark in the state’s history, Banerjee, said that the step to acquire land forcefully was “historical suicide”. Not supporting the move to rename the was also a historical blunder by the Opposition. “People should learn through their mistakes but they never do,” she said after recounting how she was tortured for organising a movement against the illegal land grabbing. When asked whether she had any message for former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Ratan Tata, Banerjee said “I would like to say that ‘no comment’ is my only comment to this.”
She said that her first commitment after coming to power was to return the Singur land, but it had not been possible due to some legal issues. But the agreement of the Left Front government was cancelled and they had introduced a new one so that no one could take the land till the legal matters were resolved.
She remembered the days when she had gone on a 26-day hunger strike at Singur and again for 14 days at Dorina crossing when the Left Front government had not kept their word despite assurances to the then Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi. She repeatedly took the name of Mahasweta Devi who had whole-heartedly supported her, and visited her at Singur during her hunger strike.
She, however, said that this was only issue in which they had a difference in opinion with the Tata group. “The state government will always welcome their investment in the state and several Tata projects are currently underway,” she said adding that Bengal was the final destination for investment in the country when no investment was taking place in other parts of the country due to wrong policies of the Centre. A monument and convention centre would be set up at Singur just like in Nandigram.
SINGUR FACT FILE
Total acquired land : 997.11 acres
Total number of land owners: 13,491 persons
Compensation taken : 10, 852 persons
Did not take compensation: 2369
Area of land belonging to unwilling
farmers: 157 acres
Area of land vested, road, untraced land
owner etc:169 acres
Total compensation Rs 118.95 crore
Compensation paid Rs 90.87 lakh
Recorded sharecropper- 336 persons
Those sharecroppers who took
compensation: 249 persons
Who did not take compensation: 87 persons