Tata 1,000-Acre Singur Deal, Fought By Mamata Banerjee, Nixed By Supreme Court

New Delhi: Land acquired in Bengal's Singur for Tata Motors' Nano factory must be returned to farmers, the Supreme Court said today, cancelling a 10-year-old agreement.

Here are 10 developments in the story:

  1. The process by which 1000 acres of farm land was acquired in 2006 was "shocking" and a "farce", the top court said, ordering that the land be returned to farmers within 12 weeks.

  2. "Land can't be acquired at the instance of a private company," said the judges, who were clear that the deal represented an "exercise of power at the instance of a private company."

  3. Tata Motors, one of India's top automakers, was allotted the land by the previous Left government in Bengal.

  4. In 2008, the Tatas moved their Nano operations to Gujarat after massive farmer protests led by Mamata Banerjee, who was then the top opposition leader in the state.

  5. Even after exiting, the Tatas had told the court that the company would not give up the land and would use it for other purposes. A spokesperson of the company said on the ruling that its own appeal in the case is yet to be heard by the Supreme Court.

  6. The court commented that the Left government had seemed determined that the project must come up in the state, and it was the company which seemed to have chosen the precise location for the project.

  7. "The order is a victory for us. I am remembering all those who made sacrifices for this day," said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, whose rise to power in 2011 was attributed mainly to the land agitations in Singur and Nandigram.

  8. The protests in Singur came to reflect the wider standoff between industry and villagers unwilling to part with land in a country where two thirds of the population still depends on agriculture for a living.

  9. The court said the money paid to farmers for the acquisition would not be returned as they were "deprived of their land for a decade".

  10. The Singur protests gained global attention because at stake was the project to roll out the world's cheapest car. Farmers argued that the most fertile land in Bengal had been allotted to the Tatas against the law.