The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Price benchmark set for Singur land
- For an acre of farmland, from Rs 14.7 to 17.5 lakh

Calcutta, July 19: Farmers giving up land at Singur in Hooghly in the first phase of acquisition for the Tatas' small-car factory will get between Rs 14.75 and 17.54 lakh for every acre.

As the acquisition of the first two plots in Singur's Berabari mouza was cleared by the land and land reforms department today, officials said the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation, the acquiring body, paid a 50 per cent advance of Rs 6.94 crore and Rs 6.23 crore for the two plots.

The price of the two plots thus works out to Rs 13.88 crore and Rs 12.46 crore.

From this money, the land department will compensate the farmers being displaced, keeping 10 per cent as acquisition fee.

'For the sake of convenience, the required 1,093 acres (for the Tata project) have been broken down in 12 portions and acquisition of the first two plots was okayed by our department today,' said land and land reforms minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah.

Becharam Manna, convener of the Krishi Jami Banchao Committee that is opposing the acquisition, said around 60 per cent of the people in Berabari mouza area own less than two bighas of land.

The largest holding is 90 bighas (26.6 acres) owned by the Barui family and 40 acres owned by the Ghosh family.

Tomorrow, the Hooghly district magistrate will send out notices under Section 4 of the Land and Land Reforms Act, telling landowners that the government desires to ac-quire their land and asking them to submit their suggestions and objections within 30 days.

The response can be submitted to either the district magistrate or at the land acquisition counter to be opened at the Singur block development office. A public assistance cell will be opened for those needing help in filling up their 'consent forms'.

The notice will also requ- est people to point out if the facts it contains are wrong. It will tell them to get mutation of their land done at the block land reforms office if their name doesn't figure in the records as the plot owner.

Before compensation is awarded, farmers will have to clear all outstanding dues.

'If a farmer is ready to hand over his land but claims more compensation than the price fixed by the government, we can increase the price by up to 10 per cent,' a land official said.

Negotiations on raising the price can take place if a plot has good connectivity with a metalled road or a highway or if it is multi-crop.

'If a farmer doesn't come forward in spite of the Section 4 notice, we'll declare his land award (the price at which acquisition is being made),' said the official. If the farmer signs the consent agreement, promising that he will not move court against the compensation, he will get 10 per cent over the declared price.

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