In what could be called a win for the Mamata Banerjee government, and a setback for Tata Motors, the Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside the Singur land acquisition made in 2006. The acquisition had been made to facilitate Tata Motors to set up its Nano plant in the state. “Tata Motors’ Singur Land acquisition was not as per rules,” ruled the apex court. “Land acquired for private company cannot be termed as public project. The state committed fraud of power in land allotment citing public good,” the court slammed. The Supreme Court has set aside the order of Calcutta High Court that upheld the land acquisition for Tata’s Nano plant.
Hailing the verdict, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said, “I had dreamt of this SC verdict for so long, for the people of Singur. Now I can die in peace.” “I am remembering those people who made sacrifices fighting for this. I would expect everyone to celebrate this as Singur utsav, it’s like an invocation of the celebration to Durga Puja,” Banerjee said. “This is a landmark victory after we thought of the new name for state of West Bengal. I am very happy with this decision,” Banerjee added. She will call for a strategy meet tomorrow to look into the SC verdict now.
SC said that the market value was not considered before deciding on the quantum of compensation. “Land acquisition collector has not properly conducted the inquiry into the complaints of cultivators with regard to acquisition of plots,” the court said. The Supreme Court has now directed the West Bengal government to take possession of the land and distribute it to the land owners within 12 weeks. The land was acquired by the Buddhadeb Bhattacharya government in 2006 to facilitate the Tatas to set up its its Nano car manufacturing plant. In May this year, Justices Gopala Gowda and Arun Kumar Mishra heard the pleas of the aggrieved farmers of Singur, Tatas and the state government. They had reserved their judgment.
Tata group had been given 1,000 acres by the state government to build a car manufacturing factory. However, following violent protests from the Trinamool Congress Party, the project had been shelved. TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee after becoming chief minister in 2011 had passed a law that forced the Tata group to move their project out of the state.