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Return Singur land to farmers: SC tells Bengal govt

It has said all those farmers who have taken the compensation in lieu of the acquisition need not return it as they have been deprived of their land and its fruits for last 10 years

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the West Bengal government to return 400 acres of land, acquired in Singur for Tata Motors to set up its Nano plant, to farmers, ‘Indian Express’ has reported.

The apex court set aside the controversial land acquisition by the then Left Front government in 2006 in Singur, West Bengal, which was vehemently protested by the Trinamool Congress — currently in power in the state with Mamata Banerjee as Chief Minister. Eventually, the project was shifted to Sanad in Gujarat. About 997 acres of land were acquired to set up Tata Motors’ ambitious Nano car manufacturing plant. The verdict came as a huge setback to the auto major.

The apex court bench of Justice V. Gopal Gowda and Justice Arun Mishra also said that all those farmers who took compensation in lieu of the acquisition need not return it as they were deprived of their land and its fruits for last 10 years.

“In the instant case, what makes the acquisition proceedings perverse is not the fact that the lands were needed for setting up an automobile industry, which would help to generate employment as well as promote socio-economic development in the state, but that the proper procedure as laid down in the Land Acquisition Act was not followed by the state government,” Justice V. Gopala Gowda observed.

The court also said those farmers who had not taken the compensation may withdraw it and that land be returned to the owners within 12 weeks.

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