Return of Singur land is my guarantee, says Mamata

Singur, Sep 20 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday guaranteed return of Singur land to peasants from whom it was forcibly taken by the erstwhile Left Front government for industrial purposes.

Banerjee iterated she was with the people of this rural hamlet that was the cradle of her anti-farmland acquisition movement during the Left Front (LF) rule.

"The case is going on in court... I am doing what I can according to my capability... Singur's land is my guarantee... we will take a decision after the court's order comes out," she said.

"I was always with the people of Singur and will stand by them. I am not a coward and I do not run away. Nor do I hoodwink people," Banerjee told a rally here in Hooghly district.

Describing the movement against Tata Motor's Nano car project as a "revolutionary phase" of her life, Banerjee said: "We staked our lives... So we don't want you to lose your land."

Singur was on the boil between 2006 and 2008 after the Left Front government acquired 997.11 acres of land for setting up the Nano factory.

Demanding return of 400 acres to "unwilling farmers" (from whom land was allegedly taken), the Trinamool Congress led a violent movement forcing the automobile giant to shift to Gujarat's Sanand.

The Trinamool reaped the fruits of the movement and won the 2008 panchayat polls, the Lok Sabha elections a year later and the assembly polls by massive margins.

The anti-acquisition protests lowered the Left Front's popularity graph while the Trinamool went from strength to strength to ultimately end the communists' 34-year rule in the state.

The abandoned factory still stands like a haunted house, but the famers are yet to get back their land due to litigation.

The Banerjee government passed the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Bill, 2011, and took over the acquired the land from Tata Motors to whom it was handed over by the erstwhile Left Front government, but the auto makers then moved court.

Though a single bench of the Calcutta High Court ruled the act valid, a division bench declared the Banerjee government's land takeover unconstitutional and void, and the matter is now pending before the Supreme Court.

There have been reports of the "unwilling" farmers going through tough times and being a discontented lot over not getting back their lands.

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