Farming has resumed in about 434 acres or 43.5% of the total acquired land in Singur since 2016, says Mamata

West Bengal CM’s remarks assume significance since questions have been raised over whether the land once acquired for industry, where large-scale construction was carried out, would be fit for agriculture or not

Updated - March 28, 2023 07:40 pm IST

Published - March 28, 2023 11:26 am IST - Kolkata

Mamata Banerjee will launch the scheme today from Singur. File

Mamata Banerjee will launch the scheme today from Singur. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Of the 997 acres of land that was acquired for the Tata Motors small car factory in West Bengal’s Singur and subsequently returned to farmers, farming has resumed in about 434 acres of land (43.5% of the total acquired land) since 2016. The figures were provided by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on March 28 at an event at Singur, where she inaugurated the West Bengal Government’s ‘Pathashree Rastashree’ scheme for building rural roads in the State.

“Of the 997 acres which were acquired, only 800 acres of land is fit for farming. Since 2016, agriculture is being practised in about 434 acres. From the government, we have set up about 56 pumping sets,” Ms. Banerjee said.

The Chief Minister added that another 250 acres of land could be prepared for agriculture and the State government was trying to convert water bodies and low lying areas so that they could become conducive to farming. She also added that an industrial park had come up on eight acres of land in Singur.

The remarks by the Chief Minister assume significance since questions have been raised over whether the land once acquired for industry, where large-scale construction was carried out, would be fit for agriculture or not. Farming resumed on the land acquired for industry in 2016 after a gap of 10 years, with the Chief Minister herself sowing mustard seeds at the site in October 2016.

On August 31, 2016 a Division Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and V. Gopala Gowda of the Supreme Court had ruled that the land acquisition process in Singur for the car project was faulty and was “not for public purpose”. The court had directed the return of land to the farmers. A section of farmers had said that the character of their land had changed and the land returned to them was not conducive for farming.

During her speech, Ms. Banerjee recounted her struggle against “forcible land acquisition” at Singur, the support of locals, and that she had observed a “hunger strike for 26 days”. In an attempt to evoke the symbolism of Singur, which has become synonymous with the Trinamool Congress’s struggle against the Left Front rule Ms. Banerjee also chose Singur to launch her State government scheme for rural roads.

“Launched today, #PathashreeRastashree project will ensure better connectivity through 12,000 kms of roads in 22 districts. With this, we take another step forward in the direction of development,” the Chief Minister tweeted.

During the day, Ms. Banerjee also targeted the Centre and accused it of not releasing funds due to the State for key schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). She said it was a mistake on the part of her government to agree to the imposition of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Ms. Banerjee also added that from Wednesday, she will be observing a two-day dharna in Kolkata against the deprivation caused to the State by the Centre. 

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