Singur farmers file applications for return of land

July 23rd, 2011 - 9:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, July 23 (IANS) Farmers of Singur, in West Bengal’s Hooghly district, are making a beeline to reclaim their land that was acquired for Tata Motors’ small car project over two years ago. A total of 2,855 applications have been received from farmers for reclaiming their land, a lawmaker said Saturday.

Friday was the last date for filing applications for reclaiming the land. Farmers have requested that the deadline be extended by ten days as many had yet to file their papers, said Trinamool Congress legislator Becha Ram Manna.

“Till Friday night, 2,855 applications have been submitted by the farmers. Since all the applications have not been filed, the farmers requested to extend the period for submission of applications. We are discussing with the authorities for an extension,” Manna told IANS.

Manna is a member of the high-powered panel formed to return the land to the unwilling farmers.

He said about 500 farmers are yet to file their claims. Due to unavailability of required documents, they could not file the claims.

“We are in the process of verifying the authenticity of the applications,” Hooghly District Magistrate Sri Priya Rangarajan said.

The district administration had also called in advocates to help the farmers submit the supporting documents. “We have been called so that in case the farmers need affidavits to place with their claims, we can help them in filing these,” said Gopal Patra, an advocate.

After coming to power, the Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal government enacted the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act which cancelled the 997.17-acre land lease given to Tata Motors by the erstwhile Left Front government for the Nano car project.

The act provides for the return of 400 acres to farmers while putting the remaining 600 acres to set up industrial units.

Following the new act, the automobile company was evicted from the factory premises in Singur. But it has moved court, challenging the validity of the act.

The automaker June 28 approached the Supreme Court against the “undue haste” being shown by the government in returning the land to farmers after it was denied interim relief by the Calcutta High Court.

A day later, the apex court stayed re-distribution of land till the final order on the matter came from the high court, which was asked to give its ruling within a month.

The matter is sub-judice before the Calcutta High Court.

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