SC verdict on Singur 'landmark victory': Mamata

SC verdict on Singur 'landmark victory': Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee termed as "landmark victory" the Supreme Court judgement today on land acquisition by Tata Motors at Singur for its abandoned Nano car project.

"The Supreme Court judgement on Singur is a landmark victory. We have waited 10 years for this judgement," she told reporters at the state secretariat here.

Banerjee, who steered political opposition against the land acquisition process of the then Left Front government in West Bengal forcing Tatas to abandon the project in 2008, said her government would shortly work out on a mechanism to return land to the farmers as directed by the court.

The division bench of justices Arun Mishra and V Gopala Gowda of the apex court ruled that the land acquisition process in Singur was faulty and not for public purpose.

The court directed that land be returned to the farmers within 12 weeks.
"From the beginning, we had been telling that the method of the acquisition was unethical and land was taken away forcibly from the farmers," Banerjee said.

She said she had staged a hunger strike in the city which lasted for 26 days to protest against the acquisition process.

The genesis of her party Trinamool Congress' slogan 'Maa-Maati-Manush' (mother-land-people) was from the Singur movement which saw many intellectuals including late Mahasweta Devi contributing their bit for the cause, she said.

"Had Mahasweta Devi been alive today, she would have been very happy... It is victory for the farmers, victory for truth and victory for Maa-Maati-Manush. 
 This triumph of the people of Singur would be written in history," she said.
Tata Motors had acquired nearly 1,000 acres for the project.

Banerjee objected to this and asked the Tatas to return 400 acres to farmers who were not willing to part with their land for the project and declined to take compensation.

She would hold a strategy meeting tomorrow on how to implement the court's order.

Banerjee paid tribute to Tapasi Malik, a farmer's daughter at Singur who was in the forefront of the agitation by anti-land acquisition Krishi Jami Raksha Committee floated by Trinamool Congress.

The half-burnt body of the 18-year-old girl was found on December 18, 2006 at Bajemelia near the project site.

The case, which led to public uproar, was initially handled by CID but was handed over to CBI by the West Bengal government after demands by opposition.

In an embarrassment to Left Front major CPI(M), the party's former secretary of Singur zonal committee Suhrid Dutta and supporter Debu Malik were convicted in the Tapasi Malik murder case by a Hoogly district court.

Banerjee also reminded how Singur movement was followed by Nandigram movement, which was also against land acqusition for industry purpose.

"My salute to Singur farmers who were never cowed down by the pressure of the then state government for illegal acquisition of land.

"We spearheaded the Singur movement taking all farmers together against this unjust acquisition of land. We never wanted to deprive any farmer and wanted to ensure that none of them was discriminated," she said.

Hitting out at the erstwhile Left Front government for Singur land acquisition, Banerjee said it was a "historical suicide" by CPI(M).

"I can die peacefully, I am so happy (with the verdict)," she added. 
 

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