Singur erupted in joy the day after the West Bengal government took possession of the land on which the empty shell of the Tata Nano factory stands.
Anti-Tata slogans swept the area adjacent to the factory, where around 1,000 locals held a rally on Wednesday morning. It was led by Becharam Manna, Trinamool legislator and one of the leaders of the Singur movement. Social activist Medha Patkar joined the rally too.
Around 10pm on Tuesday, the district administration took over the 997-acre plant site and sealed the premises. The villagers remained at the site till after 1am and were back again in the morning.
Most were out to pilfer the plant property. They tried to pull down portions of the factory’s boundary wall and make off with the bricks and other materials lying inside. Leaders of the Krishi Jami Raksha Committee had a hard time restraining them from entering the plant.
More policemen are to be stationed at the site to protect the Tata’s property. “At least 500 policemen will be deployed by Wednesday night,” said a senior police officer.
During the midnight operation, police had evicted the Tata Motors’ security personnel. All 230 of them were evicted on Wednesday morning.
Officials of the district administration and the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation visited the plant during the day, taking an inventory of the property.
The Tata Motors, meanwhile, moved the Calcutta high court, challenging the validity of the Singur Land Rehabilitation Act. Appearing before Justice Soumitra Pal, Tata’s advocate Samaraditya Pal said: “The new law was unconstitutional and in violation of the agreement. The present government passed the law without giving any notice and evicted Tata without paying any compensation.”
The company contended that the Left Front government’s inability to control lawlessness had forced it to shift the Nano plant to Gujarat.
“If they (the Tata Motors) want to go to court they are free. It is their democratic right. What we did was according to law,” CM Mamata Banerjee said in New Delhi. In Singur, Dudh Kumar Dhara, pradhan of Trinamool-run Beraberi gram panchayat, said: “If the company tries to create a legal complication, not a single brick at the plant will remain intact.”