Kolkata, Sep 1 (IANS) The West Bengal government will start land survey from Friday and complete within the Supreme Court stipulated time the process of returning land taken from the peasants of Singur for the Tata Motors Nano project, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said here on Thursday.
A day after the Supreme Court quashed the land acquisition, Banerjee chaired a high level emergency meeting at the state secretariat Nabanna to decide on follow-up actions for implementing the judicial order.
Briefing mediapersons later, she said all land-losers will get the same plot of land which they owned before the acquisition in 2006.
Banerjee said the state government has already given instruction for a survey of the land which would begin from Friday.
“The notification will be issued today (Thursday) itself. We will complete the land survey in two weeks. The physical survey will be done in the next four weeks. Physical possession of cultivable land will be given to the land owners within the stipulated time frame of 12 weeks,” she said.
She said top bureaucrats and lawyers studied the judgement during the day ahead of the meeting where all the issues were thoroughly discussed.
Banerjee said those who have not taken the compensation for the land acquired by the erstwhile Left Front government, will now get both the compensation and their land. “The compensation amount is deposited either with the Land Acquisition Collector or the Court.”
Those who had accepted compensation cheques, will now get their land back.
“The agricultural labourers will also be benefitted. The sharecroppers will get the benefits exactly as per the position recorded before the acquisition”.
“Whatever and whichever land one had before the acquisition, exactly that will be returned as per record. There will be no discrimination,” she said.
Banerjee also announced that her government will make cultivable whichever plot of land has become uncultivable.
In this context, she referred to two power transmitters set up on plots of 45 acres and two acres respectively. “Charity begins at home. These plots are no loger cultivable. So we will first make these two plots cultivable”.
Banerjee, who is set to leave for the Vatican on Friday to attend Mother Teresa’s sainthood ceremony slated for September 4, said one of the senior ministers will constantly be in touch with the surveryos and helpe them out in case of any requirement.
Describing Wednesday’s court judgement as a “landmark one”, she said it would help in restoring environmental balance and send out strong messages in protecting livelihood of the poor people.
Asked whether an uncultivable land can be made cultivable within such a short time, she shot back: “Work is always a challenge. We will take all action. We respect the Supreme Court verdict.
“Whatever manpower is needed will be provided. We will give all support.I will be very happy when all peasants get back their land”.
On whether her government will also considering setting up an industry on the acquired land, she said: “This is a different matter. There are a lot of industries coming up in Bengal. Across the country, industries are just not happening.”
The Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside the land acquisition, saying due processes and procedures were not followed.
The land was acquired in 2006 for the car project, but met with stiff protests from peasants led by Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress — currently in power in the state. Eventually, the project was shifted to Sanand in Gujarat.
The order said that the compensation that has already been paid to the land owners/cultivators should not be recovered,A and permitted landowners/cultivators who have not withdrawn the compensation to withdraw the same deposited either with the Land Acquisition Collector or the Court.
It directed restoration of the possession of land to the landowners/cultivators within 12 weeks from the date of receipt of the copy of the judgment and order, and asked the West Bengal Survey Settlement Department to conduct a survey and identify respective portions of land which needs to be restored to the respective landowners/cultivators.
The survey is to be completed within ten weeks.