Mamata hails SC for telling Tata to return Nano land

Kolkata, July 10 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday hailed the Supreme Court which has asked Tata Motors to consider restoring the land for small car Nano factory in West Bengal back to the state government so that it could be returned to farmers.

"We are happy. It is an important observation by the Supreme Court. It is a moral victory for us and will give impetus to the peasant movement worldwide," Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat here.

"We have been fighting for this since 2006. This is what we have been waiting for. We are not against industry, we want industry to flourish along with agriculture," added Banerjee.

An apex court bench of H.L. Dattu and Justice Dipak Misra told Tata Motors that they were lease holders. "You are not carrying out any business there. You cannot be expecting any profit from land. Why should you come in the way of the state handing it back to the agriculturists," the court said.

The court's observation came while hearing a special leave petition filed by the West Bengal government challenging a Calcutta High Court verdict which had declared as unconstitutional the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011.

The act was passed by the Banerjee government to return a portion of acquired land for the Tata Motors small car factory at Hooghly district's Singur to "unwilling farmers".

The automobile giant had been given 997 acres of land on lease in 2007 allegedly acquired forcibly by the Left Front government to set up a car manufacturing factory.

Following sustained volatile peasant movement led by Banerjee, the automaker later relocated the plant to Gujarat.

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