West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has hailed the Supreme Court judgement on the Singur land acquisition case, calling it a landmark victory of the farmers. “We waited for ten years for this judgement. It is a victory of the farmers,” she said. “We will hold a strategy meeting tomorrow on how to implement the SC verdict and will work out a mechanism to return land to the farmers,” she assured. Banerjee went on to say, “I had dreamt of this SC verdict for so long. This is for the people of Singur. Now I can die in peace.” “Right now I am remembering those people who made sacrifices fighting for this. Everyone should celebrate this as Singur utsav, it’s like an invocation of the celebration to Durga Puja,” Banerjee said.
The Supreme Court today set aside the Singur land acquisition made in 2006. Trinamool Congress had at that time protested vehemently against the Tata Motors car plant project in Singur, resulting in the company shifting it to Sanand in Gujarat. Finding fault with the land acquisition process, the apex court said that the acquired land should be returned to the cultivators within 12 weeks from today. “Compensation to land owners/cultivators will not be returned to government as they did not use the land for 10 years,” the apex court said.
Setting aside the Calcutta High Court verdict, the SC said that the land acquisition collector did not properly conduct the inquiry into the complaints of cultivators with regard to acquisition of plots. “The acquisition of land by the state for a company does not fall under the purview of public purpose,” the court said. The land was acquired by the Buddhadeb Bhattacharya government in 2006 to facilitate the Tatas to set up its Nano car manufacturing plant. Tata group had been given 1,000 acres by the state government to build a car manufacturing factory. 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 judgement.