Kolkata / Singur: The West Bengal government has said it may pay more to farmers forced to sell 1,006 acres of land for Tata Motors Ltd’s small car factory in Singur, almost two years after the acquisition was completed, in the face of pressure from the auto maker and the Trinamool Congress, the state’s main opposition party.
“We can still arrange to pay a better compensation if they (farmers) want, but they must quote a figure,” said Sabyasachi Sen, principal secretary of the state’s commerce and industries department. “We will not make an offer on our own. Let them propose... we’ll see what we could do.”
The aim is to buy peace with farmers who have been threatening to intensify a campaign against the project unless the government returned around 400 acres to those who had been unwilling to sell the land. Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has said her party would set up 21 camps along the boundary wall of the factory and start a sit-in demonstration from 24 August.
In 2006, the state government paid Rs13-17 lakh per acre to acquire the land, but later admitted that the compensation wasn’t satisfactory.
Less than a week ago, Tata Motors’ managing director Ravi Kant said his company’s patience was fast running out, yet it remained committed to launch the Nano—the Rs1 lakh car—from the Singur factory in October.
The statement came after workers and engineers of Shapoorji Pallonji and Co. Ltd, the firm building the factory, were attacked allegedly by protesting farmers.