Bengal pushes on with land return | india | Hindustan Times
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Bengal pushes on with land return

india Updated: Jun 24, 2011 01:10 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya

Unperturbed with the ongoing legal tussle with Tata Motors, the West Bengal government is pushing ahead with the process of returning land to the farmers in Singur.

Parts of the 997 acres, on which the empty Nano plant stands, will be given back to the farmers who were unwilling to part with their land.

"The chief minister wants things to be done as soon as possible," said a senior government official of Hooghly district. "Senior officials have asked us not to worry about the court proceedings."

On Thursday, officials from the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) and Singur block land revenue office were busy marking out the plots. "We have a set of maps in which the plots of the 'willing' and 'unwilling' farmers are marked out in red and green," said an official.

Altogether, owners of 354 acres of land have not accepted compensation, said a leader of Krishi Jami Raksha Committee (KJRC), the organisation that spearheaded the anti-land acquisition movement.

According to government records, the figure is slightly above 200 acres. "We are tallying the records," an official told HT.

Outside the Nano factory, KJRC leaders were busy finding out the rules for parceling out the land.

The farmers are unlikely to get their own plot back. "But while returning the plots, efforts will be made to keep parity with the land a farmer lost in terms of value and distance from the highway," said one of the leaders.

It would, however, be difficult to maintain parity in terms of fertility.

A land distribution committee will soon be formed, said one of the officials. It would comprise senior administrative officials of Hooghly district, including the district magistrate, legislators from Singur and neighbouring Haripal and farmers' representatives.

"The land will be returned on the basis of consensus, there would be no clash of interest among the farmers," said Becharam Manna, Trinamool MLA from Haripal.

In Calcutta high court, meanwhile, Justice Soumitra Pal directed the government to submit a report prepared by the district magistrate of Hooghly on the alleged pilferage of materials from the Nano plant. The Tata Motors' counsel had showed the court pictures of pilferage by the locals at the factory site.