Singur was abuzz with expectations when Ms Banerjee, after becoming chief minister, had a law enacted to give back 400 acres of land said to have been forcibly acquired by the Left Front government for the Tata Motors. But according to reports, Ms Banerjee's claim of forceful land acquisition in Singur is not substantiated with facts on the ground. Of the alleged 400 acres of land grabbed by the Left Front government, claimants to only 40 acres are available on record.
The 3,000 odd farmers, who had rejected compensation for the land from the Left government believing Ms Banerjee's promise of returning their land when she took charge, are now anxious. With neither land nor compensation available, patience is running out with farmers who deposed faith on their leader.
"If Didi doesn't return us our land it would be the greatest betrayal", says Pratap ghosh, one of the farmers who lost his 12 bigha land in 2006 when government began acquiring land for the Tata Nano project.
The farmers are now determined to take back what they say is rightfully theirs, irrespective of what the court's verdict will be. Mr Ghosh says, "We are waiting for the verdict. After that farmers will grab every bit".
Mahadeb Das, a local Trinamool Congress leader, who also lost 11 bighas and is fighting several police cases filed against him during the Singur agitation says, "Tata group may be very powerful, but they can't take this land from us. We will take this land back and overcome legal issues if at all".
The Tata Group stresses that it had invested nearly 1800 crore in establishing the plant at Singur and another 440 crore on constructing buildings and adding infrastructure.
While challenging the Singur Act, the Tatas had explained, "The Bill mentions 'non-commissioning and abandoning' of the project by Tata Motors and goes on to state that 'no employment generation and socio-economic development has taken place and people in and around the area have not benefited in any manner.' Tata Motors wants to clarify that the operations of setting up and commissioning of the plant was conducted under very difficult conditions, amidst violence, disruption of activities, damage to property, threats to personnel. ... therefore, Tata Motors did not find the situation congenial to continue its operations."
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