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Anybody can go to court: Mamata

Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: “Anybody can go to court…The land is under the possession of the West Bengal government,” was Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's contention when asked for her comments on the Tata Motors Ltd moving the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday, challenging the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011.

“It is a democratic right and is their prerogative; that is not the problem…I cannot comment on a court case,” she told journalists in New Delhi on Wednesday.

“The government passed the Bill [which subsequently became law with Governor M.K. Narayanan giving his assent to it] in the Assembly. In Singur we will hand over land to the unwilling farmers; it has been in our [Trinamool Congress] manifesto; it is our commitment,” Ms. Banerjee said.

‘No delay'

She did not think that challenging the legislation in court would delay the process of return of land to the “unwilling” farmers at Singur. “It [the land] is already within our possession,” the Chief Minister said.

Meanwhile, there were reports during the day of some residents pilfering pieces of equipment from within the Tata Motors' small car project site at Singur even after notices signed by the District Magistrate, Hooghly, stating that the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011 had come into effect from June 20 and that the land stands vested to the State government “free from all encumbrances,” were pasted at the gates on Tuesday evening.

‘Not responsible for thefts'

A spokesman of the Singur Krishi Jami Raksha (Protect Farmland at Singur) Committee (SKJRC) which, under the tutelage of Ms. Banerjee, had, along with the Trinamool Congress, led the movement against “forcible acquisition of land” for the Tata Motors' small car project, said that none among its supporters was responsible for the thefts.

The SKJRC took out a procession at Singur welcoming the new Act. Social activist Medha Patkar, who undertook a ‘padayatra' near the site area welcomed the new Act and congratulated the State government for it, just as she did the SKJRC for its sustained movement against the acquisition of farmland for the Tata Motors project.

Ms. Patkar also appealed to the Chief Minister to keep in mind the interests of sharecroppers and landless agricultural workers in Singur while returning land to the farmers.

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