Bengal may ask Tata to return Singur land

Bengal may ask Tata to return Singur land

Kolkata: The West Bengal government is all set to ask Tata Motors Limited to return the 997 acres of land in its possession, after it had pulled out its small car factory project from Singur to Sanand in Gujarat. The state Commerce and Industry secretary Sabyasachi Sen said that the government would like to utilize the land as soon as possible.

Talking to reporters at Writers’ Buildings Sen said that the state government would obviously like to know from Tata Motors about their future plans with the land in Singur. “We would obviously ask them what they intend to do, if they keep the land unutilized," he said. He also made it clear that wooing fresh investment for the Singur land would not be difficult once the Tata Motors hands over the land to the government.

However, at the same time he said that if Tata Motors plan to utilize the land, it would always be welcome. “So far no fresh proposal has come for the Singur land," Sen confirmed rubbishing claims of state transport minister Subhas Chakrabarty, who said that the state would be finalizing an agreement with an automobile spare parts manufacturing unit by the end of this month.

There was also hint that government might use the land for setting up an industrial park or for light engineering units, which might be accommodated within 400 acres.

Meanwhile, today, the state government had also issued a circular announcing that the Singur land, acquired for industrial project, has to be used for industrialization for generating employment and economic development of the area. It cannot be returned to land owners. The message was sent for the state’s main Opposition party — Trinamool Congress, which has lined up a series of agitation after Diwali in demand of return of 400 acres of land.

The Trinamool Congress-led anti farmland acquisition forum — Krishi Jami Raksha Committee (KJRC) — has been demanding return of 400 acres of land from within the project site, which they claimed had been forcibly acquired. Though the government agreed to return 70 acres from within the project site and supplement it with additional compensation package, the Opposition refused and stuck to its demand. The project moved out of Bengal, but the Opposition has refused to budge from its demand.

The government circular is a warning to the Opposition party that the land in Singur has undergone change of character from agricultural land to industrial land and infrastructure like roads, power sub station, electricity and drainage facilities have come up, befitting for industrial project. Now the land would have to be used for industrial purpose and nothing else, the circular said.