Mamata promises return of land to Singur farmers

Kolkata, Feb 2 (IANS) Urging the restive farmers of Singur not to lose hope, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday said she would keep her promise of giving back their land, acquired for a Tata Group plant.

"I believe not keeping promises is a crime. I have given my word to you that the people in Singur will get their land back. The matter being in court, we are unable to return their land. The people will get their land back," Banerjee said at a rally in Polba of neighbouring Hooghly district.

Singur in Hooghly district was the centre of the then opposition Trinamool Congress' volatile peasant movement led by Banerjee against the Left Front government's land acquisition for the Tata's Nano car plant in 2006-08.

However, a large section of Singur farmers, who had been the heart of Banerjee's agitation and not accepted the cheques from the Left Front government at in return for their land at her prodding, are now aggrieved with the present regime over not getting back their land.

"The matter is being heard before the Supreme Court. You will have to be patient. You will have to keep hope," Banerjee said.

She had then promised the farmers that 400 acres of the acquired land would be returned to them if her Trinamool Congress came to power.

The intense movement resulted in the automobile major Tata shifting the plant to Gujarat while the Trinamool trounced the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left Front in the 2011 assembly polls.

But 20 months into Banerjee's rule, the farmers are yet to get back their land due to a legal row between the Tata Group and the state government.

Banerjee reiterated the government would not oppose if an industry is set up on 600 acres of the acquired land.

"The remaining 400 acres should be returned to the people," she said.

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