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Court order will go in favour of people: Mamata

Special Correspondent



Mamata Banerjee

KOLKATA: Welcoming the Supreme Court's directive that as an interim arrangement there will be no distribution of land at Singur till further orders by the Calcutta High Court, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said here on Wednesday that it “will go in favour of the farmers and the people.”

“Land survey work and other operations [related to the process of land distribution] will continue according to the law,” she said.

The Chief Minister viewed the Supreme Court directive as a rejection of the reasons behind Tata Motors moving the special leave petition (SLP).

One intention to move the petition was, according to Ms. Banerjee, that the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011 passed by the State government “be scrapped, a law that Tata Babus had said was bad. The other was a total stay on the operation [land distribution process].”

“Neither was the law scrapped nor the stay granted” in the Supreme Court's directive, the Chief Minister pointed out.

The Tata Motors, however, in a statement said that the SLP was “to stay distribution of land till the Calcutta High Court disposed of the main matters [pending before the Calcutta High Court on the land earmarked for the Tata Motors' integrated project at Singur.]

“Tata Motors appealed to the Supreme Court that the position on the ground should not be irretrievably changed when the main matters are pending before the Calcutta High Court,” it said.

“The directive does not prevent the State government from proceeding on land survey work at the Singur site and other activities related to the land distribution process being undertaken,” Ms. Banerjee observed.

“As for the distribution of land it can only be initiated after the order of the Calcutta High Court, where a case is on. The Supreme Court has directed that as the case is on there can be no distribution of land. We are awaiting the ruling of the Calcutta High Court,” she said.

The Calcutta High Court is hearing a writ petition filed by the Tata Motors, challenging the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011 passed by the State government and seeking a directive from the court to declare it “unconstitutional and illegal”.

Referring to her government's stand on return of land to farmers who had been unwilling to part with it at the time of acquisition of the Tata Motors' project, Ms. Banerjee said: “It is mentioned in the rules and in the notification regarding land distribution [to “unwilling farmers”] that a month's time has to be given for scrutinising any complaints or appeals.”

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