Land identified for handing over to 12 Singur farmers

June 28th, 2011 - 10:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, June 28 (IANS) The West Bengal government Tuesday carried forward the process of returning to farmers the land they were unwilling to give up for the now abandoned Tata Motors small car plant at Singur, and identified 3.80 acres to be handed over to 12 farmers.

“We have started distributing land to the farmers,” said Becharam Manna, a legislator and member of the 19-strong high-power committee set up by the state government to look into the Singur land distribution.

“We have earmarked 3.8 acres of land which will be distributed among 12 farmers,” Manna told IANS over phone from Singur, a rural belt in Hooghly district, about 40 km from Kolkata.

The papers are likely to be handed over to the peasants Tuesday night itself, he said. However, Manna later said the land deeds will be given Wednesday.

However, there was some element of confusion with Hooghly District Magistrate Sripriya Rangarajan saying only the process of receiving application and survey was on.

“No, no, not at all. Only the process of receiving applications and survey is on. The farmers visited the plot which has created the misconception,” Rangarajan told IANS over phone when asked whether the plots would be handed over Tuesday.

She said the land would be given after observing all the formalities.

“We have started the process. It’s a continuous process. Today the process of taking the farmers and locating the land was done. After observing all the formalities, we will give the land accordingly,” she said.

Manna said the farmers were being given alternate land, equal in amount that was “forcibly” taken from each one of them.

The automobile giant abandoned the 997.17-acre site in October 2008 following protests by farmers led by the then opposition Trinamool Congress, which wanted return of 400 acres taken from farmers allegedly against their will by the erstwhile Left Front government.

After the Trinamool won the recent assembly elections, the new government passed the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act in the assembly June 14, scrapping the land lease given to the Tatas by the Left Front government for the Nano small car plant.

The act came into force June 21 and the very next day, Tata Motors moved the Calcutta High Court challenging the new legislation.

The automakers Tuesday approached the Supreme Court against the “undue haste” being shown by the government in returning the land. A day earlier the Calcutta High Court refused the company’s plea to restrain the state government from the land distribution.

Taking note of the petition, a Supreme Court vacation bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and A.K Patnaik posted the matter for hearing Wednesday.

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