With the Supreme Court quashing the land acquisition by the former Left Front government in West Bengal’s Singur for setting up Tata Motors’ Nano car plant ten year ago, chief minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said the apex court’s verdict is a “landmark victory” for her movement against the “forceful land acquisition”.
“This is a landmark victory. I think this is a landmark victory after we thought of the new name Bengal for our state. This is a major win for the continuous movement of the farmers in Singur. I am very happy with the Supreme Court’s verdict,” Banerjee told a media conference at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court set aside the controversial acquisition of 997.11 acres of land in Singur in 2006 by the then Buddhadeb Bhattacharya-led Left Front government for allotting it to the Tatas for their ambitious Nano car manufacturing plant. The apex court held that due processes and procedures were not followed for the land acquisitions and hence the land should be restored to the owners and cultivators within 12 weeks.
“I had dreamt of this verdict for so long…This is a landmark verdict in support of the movements against any forceful land acquisition. We have continuously been telling that the previous government had acquired the land in Singur unlawfully. Today it is proved that our movement was right,” Banerjee said.
Notably, in order to protest the land acquisition process, Banerjee staged a 26-day-long hunger strike in 2007 after Tata Motors had started construction of small car plant in Singur. The protest forced the then Tata Sons’ chairman Ratan Tata to announce in October, 2008 that the group would pull out its Nano car plant from Singur and relocate it to Sanand.
After the apex court’s verdict on Wednesday, the chief minister said her government will soon decide on the next course of actions to return the land to the farmers. “We will convene a strategy meeting tomorrow to decide on the next course of actions…the next administrative review meeting will be in Singur. We will organise an Utsav there to celebrate this victory. On September 2, we will observe Singur Utsav in every block of our state,” she informed.
When asked if she has any comment for Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Ratan Tata, Banerjee said, “No comments is my only comment.”
“Tatas are welcome if they want to invest in our state. We are not vindictive. They are already working in many areas in Bengal,” she said, claiming that Bengal would be the ‘ultimate destination’ for investment in India.