NEW DELHI: The Supreme court on Wednesday set aside Calcutta High Court order upholding the land acquisition for Tata’s Nano plant at Singur in West Bengal.
Pronouncing its judgement on the allocation and ownership of land in West Bengal’s Singur district, which was acquired by the Buddhadeb Bhattacharya government in 2006 to facilitate the setting up the Nano car manufacturing plant by the Tatas, the court directed the West Bengal government to take possession of the land.
Finding fault with the land acquisition process, the court said that the acquired land be returned to the cultivators within 12 weeks from Wednesday. The court also observed that the land acquisition collector has not properly conducted the inquiry into the complaints of cultivators with regard to acquisition of plots.
In May this year, Justices Gopala Gowda and Arun Kumar Mishra had heard the pleas of the Tatas, the Bengal government and the aggrieved farmers of Singur and had reserved their judgement.
During the hearing, Justice Gowda had mentioned that agricultural land can be acquired for industry, but it is better to avoid use of multi-crop producing land for such an activity.
The Tata group was given around a thousand acres by the state government in 2006 to build a car manufacturing factory but in the wake of violent protests from the Trinamool Congress Party, the project was shelved.
Soon after coming to power in 2011, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee passed a law to take over the land and forced the Tatas to move their project out of the state to Gujarat’s Sanad district.
Tata Motors moved the Calcutta High Court challenging the law. The acquisition of the land was upheld by a trial court and the law passed by the Trinamool Congress-led state government was declared unconstitutional on appeal.
(With ANI inputs)