Special Correspondent

“Alternative industry can be set up only if 400 acres of land is returned to farmers”

Trinamool Congress chief to lead rally in Singur on November 2

Demand for return of land in not legally tenable, says Government

Kolkata: Even as the West Bengal government is planning to set up another industry on the land in Singur from where Tata Motors pulled out its Nano project, the Trinamool Congress is set to intensify its stir for the return of plots acquired for the project to farmers who had not taken compensation.

Procession planned

It will begin with a procession there on November 2 to be led by party chief Mamata Banerjee.

It was the agitation by the Trinamool Congress and its allies on the same issue that had resulted in the Tata Motors withdrawing its project at Singur earlier this month.

The Trinamool Congress is seemingly spoiling for another confrontation with the State government at Singur.

Ms. Banerjee has scoffed at the move of the State government to keep alive the promise of industry at Singur thus providing employment opportunities to people there – a section of whom has expressed dismay over the Tata Motors’ pullout. Alternative industry can be set up only if the 400 acres of land acquired from “unwilling” farmers (out of a total of 997.11 acres) is handed back to them, she has asserted.

‘Unrealistic’

Her demand for return of land to farmers in not legally tenable, the State administration maintains. It is also “unrealistic” as the land had been acquired under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 that has no provision for it being returned, Biman Bose, Secretary of the West Bengal State Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), recently reiterated.

The plots had been acquired to set up industry, thereby creating jobs and facilitating economic development in the area.

The land pattern of the area acquired was subsequently changed to suit the requirements of industry and the necessary infrastructure set up that included power supply to the area and construction of roads, according to the State government.

Campaign in districts

The proposed procession at Singur will also mark the start of a greater movement by the Trinamool Congress in the districts of the State — areas where Ms. Banerjee has alleged that the activists of the CPI(M) were committing atrocities on the people with the help of a section of the local police administration.

This will include the “gherao” of the offices of Superintendents of Police in some of these districts.

As part of her agitation, Ms. Banerjee has also decided to visit Nandigram where, she has maintained, people continue to be victim “to atrocities” of CPI(M) supporters with the local police looking the other way.