West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday handed out cheques to 800 farmers who did not claim compensation for the land acquired from them for the Tata Nano plant in Singur. The Trinamool Congress chief will also start handing back ownership of land in Singur to 9,117 farmers who lost their plots for the establishment of the factory.
Banerjee had called the Supreme Court's August 31 verdict a "victory of the people" after it set aside the West Bengal government's acquisition of land in Singur in 2006 for Tata Motors to set up its Nano factory. The state government was directed to take possession of the 1,000-acre plot and re-distribute it among the land owners within 12 weeks.
On Tuesday, she had threatened to tear down the Nano factory sheds in Singur if the company did not comply with the apex court's order to take down the structures within two days. The chief minister, however, clarified that there was no trouble between the state and the firm, which can continue with its other operations in West Bengal.
The government also offered the Tata group a new industrial land to compensate for losses the company incurred in Singur. State Finance Minister Amit Mitra said they had an alternative plot ready in Goaltore in West Midnapore as well as in Raghunathpur in Purulia. "If Tata is serious, we can talk about it, and the area can be prepared as an industrial hub," he added, according to The Indian Express.
The Singur agitation started in 2006. Banerjee had piggybacked on the protests against the acquisition of land for the factory and attacked the then ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist), whose government had facilitated the deal for the Tata Nano plant. In 2008, the agitation resulted in Tata pulling out of Singur and moving to Gujarat.