Buddhadeb rejects Mamata’s ‘return Singur land’ demand


Kolkata : West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Sunday rejected Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s demand that the land acquired for Tata project in Singur be returned. Any such act would amount to “betraying” the people of the region, he added. Bhattacharjee said the plot acquired for the Tata Motor’s Nano small-car project would be used for setting up industries only.

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“We cannot give back land to the farmer that was acquired for setting up industries. We’d acquired the Singur land for industrial purpose and it will be used for that only,” Bhattacharjee told a Left Front rally at the Brigade Parade Ground here.

“I cannot deprive thousands of youth in Hooghly district’s Singur, who are looking at employment. We just cannot let the Singur land go,” the chief minister said, promising that some other investment would come up in future at the Singur site.

Giving the state government seven days to return the land it had acquired allegedly by force for the Tata Motors’ project, Banerjee Saturday said farmers should divide the land among themselves if the state failed to give it back.

Adopting a tough posture at a rally close to the plot where the abandoned factory that was once slated to roll out the world’s least expensive Nano car stands, she said the Trinamool-run village bodies would back the peasants if they forcibly took hold of the 400 acres.

However, Bhattacharjee categorically said the state government would not return the land to the farmers. He also continued to vouch for setting up industries on the abandoned plot in Singur.

Indian auto major Tata Motors’ bid to manufacture world’s least expensive Rs.100,000 ($2,500) car from the Singur facility did not succeed after the Trinamool-backed farmers’ outfit Krishijami Jiban aur Jibika Raksha Committee (Save Agricultural Land, life and Livelihood Committee) carried out sustained protests against the land acquisition and demanded that 400 acres be returned to farmers from whom the land was taken “forcibly”.

Following the protests, the company shifted the project to Sanand in Gujarat in October last year.

The company had invested Rs.15 billion in the project, which was to come up on 997.11 acres acquired by the state government for Tata Motors.