Restoration of Singur land will take a long time, say experts | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Restoration of Singur land will take a long time, say experts

Most of the 997 acre has gone under fly ash, cement and rubbish.

kolkata Updated: Sep 02, 2016 09:23 IST
Police disperse demonstrators in front of the Singur factory. Returning the land to the farmers was the top priority of the Mamata Banerjee government.
Police disperse demonstrators in front of the Singur factory. Returning the land to the farmers was the top priority of the Mamata Banerjee government.(HT Photo)

On a day Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee vowed to return land in cultivable state to Singur farmers, soil experts said the prospect of restoring multi-crop lands to their original condition in 12 weeks is not feasible.

Addressing a press conference the day after the Supreme Court directed the state to return the land acquired for the Nano project, the chief minister said the plots would be restored to the same cultivable condition as they were when acquired before being handed back to the farmers.

However, soil experts voiced grave doubts on whether the restoration of land to their original state was possible within the stipulated time-frame. They said since a major portion of land acquired is rigged with high chemical content and such materials as fly ash and cement among others, the chances to restoring them to the original multi-crop state are slim and would call for a long-drawn process.

Read: SC scraps Singur land deal for Nano plant, asks Bengal govt to take possession

Asked whether the lands could indeed be restored to their original state in time, DD Patra, the vice-chancellor Bidhan Chandra Krishi Visva Vidyalaya, said it would take at least six months for the lands to be restored to a state where limited farming activity is possible.

A whole factory complete with power substations were built on the plot after filling up the low land with rubbish, fly ash, cement and concrete rendering much of it completely unfit for cultivation. (File Photo)

“The process of restoration has to start with removing fly ash, cement and other chemicals from the soil. Then the soil would have to be treated with diluted sulphuric acid for some time. The next step would be to treat the land with organic manure and only then could the soil be restored to its original productive capacity. The entire process will take at least six months,” Patra said.

Located in the lower Gangetic plain, the land in Singur is extremely fertile and bears three crops and more every year. The high fertility of the soil was one of the key reasons of the resistance to the acquisition.

According to sources in the state agriculture department, even after restoring the lands to a state that would enable limited farming activity; they would have to be treated with silt for a considerable period to help them regain their multi-crop nature.

Read: Govt will return Singur land to farmers in cultivable condition, announces Mamata

“This process would take nothing less than three to five years,” said an official of the agriculture department.

However, sources in the state cabinet said the government will go all out to return the lands to the farmers within 12 weeks as stipulated by the Supreme Court.

“We’re hopeful of completing the restoration process and returning the lands within 12 weeks. However, we’re not saying that the farmers would be able to resume cultivation soon after getting back their lands. But we’ll spare no effort and expense to help them restore their lands to their original cultivable state. We’ll take the help of soil experts and if necessary, a separate corpus would be allocated for the restoration process,” a member of the state cabinet said.