West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday termed the Supreme Court’s ruling that the land acquisition process by Tata Motors in Singur was faulty as a “landmark victory”.
“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 in Kolkata.
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 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 on Thursday on how to implement the court’s order.