Kolkata: A week after West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced that all built structures are to be removed from the 997-acre plot at Singur, which the Supreme Court ordered should be returned to its original owners, the state administration has “slowed down" the process of demolition, a cabinet minister said.

It was earlier decided that the state-owned power substation occupying 47 acres at Singur will be the first to be razed, but on Wednesday, Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, the state’s power minister, said his department had “slowed down" the process of dismantling the unit, pending the return of the chief minister from her tour of Europe.

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It is a possibility that she might seek people’s views on how the plot should be used in future though a week ago she had announced that Singur will be made cultivable again, according to Chattopadhyay. Banerjee, who is currently in Germany addressing business leaders and chambers of commerce, will visit Singur on 14 September.

Key leaders within her Trinamool Congress party are sceptical about her plan to demolish all built structures, dig out land fill and make the tract cultivable again.

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Some leaders, and most importantly, a large section of the local people are of the view that it will be better to put the plot to industrial use. People of Singur, who are to get ownership back, could be asked to decide on the plot’s future, and it is the chief minister who has last word on this matter, the power minister said.

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