Singur awaits land handover to farmers from Thursday

Singur (West Bengal), Oct 19 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is all set to kick off the process to hand over physical possession of land to farmers from Thursday.

The announcement has led to a second spell of festivities — after Durga Puja — in this rural pocket of Hooghly district.

Following the Supreme Court order to return to the cultivators within 12 weeks the land that had been acquired for the Tata Motors’ Nano project, the state government has been trying to complete the process of giving physical possession within 10 weeks.

The court-stipulated time-frame will expire by November-end.

“The process of giving physical possession of land will start from Gopalnagar,” a district official involved with the process told IANS.

“It is a time-consuming process as there are several legal heirs. We have to convince the farmers about the specific plots they will now own. It will be done in a phased manner,” he added.

The apex court on August 31 struck down the land acquisition by the erstwhile Left Front government for the Tata Motors’ Nano project.

The main function would be held in a part of the project area where the land is yet to be made cultivable.

“This is a day we had been waiting for since long. We had fought only to get back our land that was snatched from us,” said Mahadeb Das, an unwilling land-loser and local Trinamool Congress activist, who lost 1.3 acres of land.

“Everyone is in a festive mood here. Many villagers resumed Durga Puja after almost a decade. There will be no discrimination among farmers. Physical possession will be given to both willing and unwilling farmers,” he said in a jubilant mood.

Banerjee has already announced that as much as 80 per cent of total 997.11 acres of land acquired for the small factory project has already been made cultivable.

The government departments would continue their efforts to remove the mass of concrete present over 36 acres of land in the project and make it cultivable, too.

Two weeks after the Supreme Court’s order, the state government had in September celebrated the “Singur Festival” in the rural hamlet by distributing land records and compensations.

To mark the anti-acquisition movement, the main function was held at Sanapara — the same spot of the Durgapur Expressway where Banerjee had held a 16-day sit-in protest in 2008, demanding that the 400 acres acquired for the project be returned to the “unwilling farmers”.

The intense — and often violent — peasant movement had resulted in Tata Motors abandoning the Singur project and later bringing out the small car Nano from Sanand in Gujarat.

–IANS

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