Singur Land Rehab Act 2011 upheld by the Calcutta High Court

On June 20th 2011, the West Bengal governor M K Narayanan gave his consent to the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Bill, 2011.The bill was passed by the State Legislature on June 14. The Bill does not require the consent from President Pratibha Patil.

  • The bill was brought to return land to the unwilling Singur farmers.
  • Mamata Banerjee had promised the unwilling farmers of Singur that her government will return their land once Trinamool Congress was voted to power.
  • The controversial 997.11 acre land in Singur was acquired by the by Left Front government in 2008 and given to the Tata Motors and its vendors for building an automobile plant.
  • But after unimaginable protest from local farmers, opposition party TMC and 26 days hunger strike of current chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Tata Motors finally withdrawal their project from Singur and moved to Gujrat.

The new act has the following provisions:

  • 100% of the acquired land is now under possession of West Bengal Government. This includes all assets, rights, leaseholds and any kind of movable or immovable properties on the said land.
  • The same amount of land will be returned to the Unwilling farmers(who refused to take money during the acquisition in 2008)
  • Tata Motors and its vendors, who were given the lease of the Land, have to hand over their authority in favour of the Hooghly District Magistrate. Otherwise District Magistrate shall use its force to take the land back.
  • What ever premium were paid by the vendors to state government will be returned once they surrender their land to the government.
  • Tata Motors and Vendors will be given compensation as adjudged by the district judge of Hooghly.
  • They will be given 6% interest during the period of their submission of the request of compensation and till it is fulfilled.
  • State government shall also pay compensation to the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation as they acquired the land on behalf of of the state government and paid Rs 137 crore to the land owners
  • The rest of the land shall be utilized in public interest.

But the story has not ended so far. The case was in Calcutta High Court. Tata moved to Supreme Court and Supreme Court directed the West Bengal government not to return the land acquired for Tata Motors in Singur to farmers till the Calcutta High Court decided the issue. The company has challenged in the high court the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, enabling the government to take back possession of the land and distribute it among the farmers who owned them before acquisition by the previous Left Front government. It also asked for an interim stay. The high court did not grant it and it is still hearing the company’s application for stopping the government action. Therefore, the company moved the Supreme Court. West Bengal Government also challenged the “maintainability” of the automaker’s writ petition before the Calcutta High Court (On June 28). The Supreme Court, on a plea from Tata Motors, had stayed allotment of the land of the dubious factory location till further orders from the High Court. Recently, the Calcutta High Court upheld the Singur Land Rehabilitation and development Act, 2011 as constitutionally valid. Calcutta High Court marked its judgment on an appeal filed by Tata Motors, demanding the constitutional validity of the legislation.

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