Kolkata: West Bengal will spend an additional Rs40-45 crore to buy peace with farmers in Singur, where Tata Motors Ltd is building a factory to make its Nano car.
The state government paid Rs143 crore two years ago to acquire some 1,000 acres at Singur in Hooghly district. However, in the face of local resistance led by the main opposition party, the Trinamool Congress—which forced Tata Motors to stop work at the plant—the government has decided to raise the compensation to farmers.
It advertised in local newspapers on Sunday announcing it would pay an additional 50% to each farmer from whom it acquired land.
Hard stance: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee says her party wouldn’t settle for anything less than a return of 300 acres. Indranil Bhoumik / Mint
The government had earlier paid Rs9-12 lakh an acre, depending on productivity, to some 13,000 farmers. About 2,200 are yet to accept the payout.
These 2,200 farmers would get a bonus of 10% if they collect their money by 22 September, the state government said. It will also pay 300 days’ wages to each farm worker affected by the acquisition—or at least Rs22,500 per person— and develop 70 acres to benefit those displaced.
The government also offered to train and provide jobs to at least one person in each family displaced by the car project.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation said the package would cost up to Rs45 crore.
Tata Motors said it supports the recent initiatives of the government. “Tata Motors hopes that these initiatives will evoke a positive response… and will contribute to create a congenial environment conducive to the long-term sustained operations of an industrial enterprise,” it said in a statement.
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, however, rejected the government’s offer to raise the compensation, saying her party wouldn’t settle for anything less than a return of 300 acres from within the project area.