Kolkata, October 30, 2008: The Tatas must return the land at Singur as they had withdrawn the Nano project, the ruling Left Front said today and urged the West Bengal government to take steps for setting up alternative industries at the site.
Since the Tatas had decided not to utilise the acquired land for the Nano project, they must return the land to the state government for setting up alternative industries, otherwise the land, which could not be returned to the farmers as per the existing land acquisition act, has to be auctioned, left front chairman Biman Basu told reporters.
The land acquired for Tata Motors’ Nano project at Singur would be used for setting up industrial units, Left Front (LF) unanimously decided today. The LF has given a green signal to the state government to use the Singur land for alternative industries. The government is now in a process to explore all possible options to set up industries there,” state LF chairman Biman Basu told reporters here after a meeting of its contituents.
“We think the land should be used for the industrial purpose as it was acquired keeping in mind a specific reason of industrialisation in that area. Our government is also keen to set up some factories there,” he added.
On the question of returning land to the unwilling farmers, the LF chairman said that the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, has no provision to return the land once acquired. “If the Tatas are not using the land for their small car factory, they have to give it back to the state government,” Basu said.
The land at Singur, about 40 km from here, was acquired for the project to build the world’s cheapest car, but following an agitation by some of the farmers seeking better compensation, Tata Motors Oct 3 moved the plant to Gujarat. Tata Motors blamed the state’s principal opposition party Trinamool Congress for the “painful” decision. Trinamool had led the protests against acquisition of land from farmers unwilling to hand over their holdings.
The auto major’s decision came 32 days after it decided to suspend operations in the Singur factory fearing for security of its employees who were manhandled and threatened by Trinamool-backed protesters, who demanded the return of 400 acres out of the total area of 997.11 acres taken for the project.
Speaking after a meeting of the Left Front, Basu said, "We have asked the state government to go ahead in setting up alternative industries at Singur." Basu said Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee informed the meeting that the possibility of setting up alternative industry at the site was being explored. "Talks are on in this regard. We are looking into all possibilities for setting up alternative industries at Singur," Bhattacharjee said.