Kolkata, Sep 14 (IANS) Underlining her commitment to the welfare of farmers, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday commemorated the third anniversary of the ‘historic day’ when the Trinamool Congress government handed over to the farmers the land records forcibly acquired from them by the erstwhile Left Front regime in Singur for the Tata Motors’ Nano project.
“Today marks the third anniversary of the historic day when our Govt of #Bangla handed over to farmers the parchas of land forcibly acquired in Singur.
“We reiterate our commitment to the welfare of farmers, alongside promoting industry. My humble pronam to Maa, Mati, Manush,” Banerjee posted on her Twitter handle.
Singur – the Hooghly district rural belt that had played a key role in catapulting Banerjee to power eight years back, dealt a big blow to the Trinamool in the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year when the party’s sitting MP Ratna De (Nag) lost to the BJP’s Locket Chatterjee in the Hooghly Lok Sabha seat. Not only that, De trailed Chatterjee by 73,362 votes in the Singur Assembly segment.
Banerjee had successfully led a farmers’ agitation between 2006 and 2008 against the then Left Front government’s acquisition of land for the Nano plant.
The intense and often violent agitation during which Banerjee demanded the return of 400 acres – out of the total acquired 997.11 acres – to those farmers who did not want to part with their land, resulted in the Tatas shifting the project out of Singur to Gujarat’s Sanand.
The day she took oath in 2011, Banerjee in her very first cabinet meeting decided to return 400 acres to the cultivators. Her government came up with the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011 and acquired the land, but the Tatas moved the court.
After a prolonged legal battle, on August 31, 2016 the Supreme Court struck down the land acquisition made by the Left Front government for the project and ordered that the land be given back to the cultivators.
On September 14, 2016, Banerjee had started the process of handing over the title deeds to the affected peasants.
But three years down the line, despondency among the famers over a large chunk of land remaining infertile and “inappropriate use of resources” by the local and district administration to make it fertile seem to have turned the tables on the Trinamool.