An arbitration tribunal on Monday ruled that the West Bengal government must pay Rs 766 crore in compensation to Tata Motors Limited for its capital investment losses in the Singur manufacturing plant, the company said in an exchange filing.
Tata Motors had built a car manufacturing facility in West Bengal’s Singur in 2006. The Left Front-led government had allotted 1,000 acres of farm land to the company. The car manufacturing unit was to assemble the company’s cheapest vehicle, the Rs 1-lakh Nano.
However, the company shifted the plant to Gujarat’s Sanand in 2008 after it faced protests over land acquisition in Singur. The protests were led by farmers and the Opposition political parties, including the Trinamool Congress, which is now in power. Between 2006 and 2008 Tata Motors had invested more than Rs 1,000 crore in Singur.
On Monday, the tribunal also allowed the company to recover Rs 1 crore for the cost of the legal proceedings from West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation Limited.
The Trinamool Congress government, however, said that they may explore other legal options, PTI reported.
“This is not a final verdict or a verdict by the Supreme Court,” Trinamool Congress MP Sougata Roy told PTI. “This is a ruling by an arbitral tribunal. It doesn’t mean this is the end of the road for the state government. Legal avenues are still open for the state government.”
However, the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party said that the Trinamool Congress’ protests at the time had pushed away industrial development in the state.
“We are against forcible land acquisition,” BJP Spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya told the news agency. “But when the industry started, we wanted the factory to come up. For the wrong policies of the [Communist Party of India (Marxist)] and the militant agitation of the TMC, the Tatas were forced out of the state, permanently driving industries away.”