Twelve days, 150 men and a job well done. Preparing thousands of land deeds and hundreds of cheques to Singur farmers in a few days’ notice was a herculean task. But thanks to the officers and staff of Hooghly district land and land reforms and land acquisition department, the job looked easy.
“My wife was very angry when I told her that I could not take her for puja shopping. But when I saw chief minister Mamata Banerjee handing over the cheques and land papers among the farmers, I felt that all the sacrifice I made was worth it,” an officer of the land reforms department told HT on Thursday.
The officer was part of the team that toiled 24x7 since September 2 to ensure that all farmers got back their land.
“My bosses told me to ensure that all land papers and cheques are ready by September 14,” he said.
On August 31, the Supreme Court had quashed the erstwhile Left Front government’s acquisition of land for the Tata Nano factory in Singur and ordered that the plots be returned to the farmers within 12 weeks. A day after the top court verdict, the Mamata Banerjee government announced that it would return the land on September 14.
Initially, around 120 officers from Hooghly district were roped in to arrange the land documents. Later, 26 more officers were roped in to get the job done on time.
In order to help officers stay in Singur and work night and day, the district administration had made a temporary camp at the factory premises itself.
“Around 80 people are staying there currently. We have arranged bed and blankets for them and made nearly 35 temporary washrooms. A local caterer is providing them food,” the officer said.
The administration tried to ensure they worked every minute. Putting them up at the factory plot ensured even travelling time from home could be saved and put to work.
Ironically, locals said they witnessed similar frantic pace of activity of the administration in 2006/07 when the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government had to hand over the land to Tata Motors.