SC terms Singur land acquisition illegal, tells govt to return land to farmers

What a waste (File) Mahadeb Das, one of the 'unwilling' farmers behind the land movement

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

Terming the land acquisition made by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government in 2006 illegal, the court has set a deadline of 12 weeks for the government to return the land. The apex court also observed that the acquisition was faulty and served no public interest.

The SC verdict has been hailed as a major victory for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who came to power in 2011, promising justice to land agitators in Singur and Nandigram.

Singur erupted in celebration after the verdict. "It's a great relief for us," said Mahadeb Das, one of the 'unwilling' farmers behind the land movement.

"The Supreme Court quashed the acquisition, terming it illegal. The division bench of V Gowda and Arun Mishra also criticised the way people were left to suffer for all these years," said farmers' counsel Kalyan Banerjee.

The court directed the state government to undertake a survey and return the land to 'unwilling' farmers besides offering them a compensation. The court also said those who gave away their land wilfully can get their land back if they wish to. They do not have to return the money they got when they sold the land as it would be considered as compensation.

Tata, Meanwhile, is all set to move another bench against this verdict.

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