Economy

Singur Land Deal ‘Illegal’, says Supreme Court in Blow to Tata, Former Left Government

A view of a factory shade of a new small car project, run by Tata Motors, is seen in Singur 50 km (32 miles) north of Kolkata August 7, 2008. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw/Files

A view of a factory shade of a new small car project, run by Tata Motors, is seen in Singur 50 km (32 miles) north of Kolkata August 7, 2008. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw/Files

New Delhi: In a major setback to Tata Motors, the Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed the acquisition of nearly 1,000 acres of land in Singur made by the then CPM-led government in 2006.

The land was acquired a decade ago by the state government for the Tata Group to build its Nano car manufacturing factory. However, a little over a year later, after numerous protests by farmers and locals, the project was shifted to Gujarat, leaving the company and state government locked in a tussle over who should possess the land.

The Supreme Court, however, has put an end to the 10-year-ordeal. On Wednesday, it declared that the initial land acquisition was “illegal and void” and failed to meet “requirements under the Land Acquisition Act 1894”.

In doing so, the Supreme Court has not only set aside a previous judgement of the Calcutta high court, which upheld the land acquisition, but has also pointed out that the West Bengal government in 2006 “committed fraud of power in land allotment” by acquiring land for a private company and passing it off as a public good.

In remarks to the media, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee hailed the Supreme Court’s decision as a landmark victory.

“I had dreamt of this SC verdict for so long, for the people of SIngur. Now I can die in peace. I would expect everyone to celebrate this as Singur Utsav, it’s like a n invocation of the celebration to Durja Puja, ” Banerkee said.

According to the Supreme Court judgement, the land acquired will now have to be returned to the farmers and landowners within the next 12 weeks.