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Land and regular dole promise

Nov. 30: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today assured unwilling farmers in Singur that the land acquired for the Tata Motors plant was with the government and would be returned immediately after the legal battle was settled.

After an administrative meeting at the Singur block development office, Mamata admitted “delay” in distributing the monthly dole and subsidised rice among the unwilling farmers.

“The land in Singur is now in the possession of the state government. A court case is on. Once the verdict is delivered, the land will be returned to the owners,” the chief minister said.

Regarding the monthly dole of Rs 2,000 and 16kg of rice at Rs 2 a kg for each family, Mamata said: “There was some delay in the process. We are making arrangements for the villagers to get the money every month. We are also taking steps to ensure that the quota of rice reaches on time,” she said.

Trinamul sources said Mamata had to give the assurance because of the discontent brewing in Singur over delays in getting back land and receiving the dole and the rice. “The issues have to be addressed before the panchayat polls,” a Trinamul leader said.

The CPM accused Mamata of trying to “mislead” people by assuming that the Supreme Court verdict would go in favour of the state government. The state moved an appeal in the Supreme Court after Calcutta High Court struck down the law on the basis of which the state government took back land acquired for the Nano factory.

“She cannot presume that the court case will go in her government’s favour. Even if the state government tries to frame a new law, it can be challenged in court by the company,” said Balai Sabui, a district committee member of the CPM in Hooghly.

Leader of the Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra said: “She knows that, constitutionally, land acquired by the government cannot be returned.”