A day after industrialist Ratan Tata lamented the exit of the Nano project from Singur; unwilling farmers in the area welcomed him back provided that their compensation is doubled.
“We are gradually disenchanted with the legal course adopted by the state government. The Singur law is questionable in the eyes of the court. Under such circumstances, we want an amicable solution between the state and the Tatas. We are ready to part with our land if compensation is doubled,” said Par Gopalnagar resident Bidyut Manna, who possesses 0.6 acres of land.
At present, the Singur land is categorised into two types, with their rates fixed by the erstwhile state government at Rs. 9 lakh per acre and Rs. 12 lakh per acre.
“Since the high court has already struck down the law as null and void, we are apprehensive about the Supreme Court judgment as well and doubt the merit of the case,” Manna told HT, anxiety dripping from his voice.
On Sunday, Ratan Tata remarked in Mumbai that the Singur episode was a great disappointment and he felt that the plant could have generated more than 7000 jobs. He also added that an industry could not be run on police protection, while hinting that he would be ready to slog it out at the court against the state government and might eventually return to invest in West Bengal.
“We do not want any more uncertainty over the fate of our land. Let the state government take the Tatas and villagers into confidence and solve the problem once and for all. If required we will let go our land, but the present compensation structure is not acceptable to us,” said Jayanta Manna, resident of Gopalnagar and owner of one acre of land.
But not all of Singur’s unwilling farmers are ready to give away their land.
A section of landowners are still determined to have their land back at any cost.
“We want our land back by hook or crook. Now it is up to the state whether it gains possession of the land by winning the court case or by having an understanding with the Tatas. Let Tatas have their industry, but please spare our land,” said Krishna Bag of Beraberi village, who owns 0.6 acres of land and spent two nights in jail after gheraoing the BDO in September 2006.
Her husband Arun Bag spent four nights in jail in December 2006, after villagers protested when police entered into their villages to get possession over their lands.
“We need our land back. Unless the land is returned, Tatas would not be allowed to have industries here,” warns Shyamali and Tarini Bag, owners of 1.3 acres of land in Beraberi village.
The couple spent seven nights in prison during the December 2006 agitation.