Calcutta, Sept. 28: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s government appears confident of completing the acquisition of land in Singur in time to satisfy Tata Motors that yesterday expressed unhappiness about delay.
“Nothing has been delayed,” the chief minister said when it was brought to his notice that Tata Motors managing director Ravi Kant had almost issued an ultimatum to pull out since the company’s schedule for the small-car project was threatening to get disrupted.
Told that Kant had given a warning of looking elsewhere if the acquisition wasn’t completed within the year, he gave the assurance: “Shob theek achhe. Everything’s fine.”
The government has acquired the land on paper and will hand it over to Tata Motors after the Pujas.
On October 4, West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) officials are slated to visit Singur to view the land.
“After October 6 or 7, WBIDC officials will take physical possession of the land. Field officers from the land department will accompany them. We’ll put pegs around the area to earmark the plot,” said land reforms commissioner Sukumar Das.
Land and land reforms minister Abdur Rezzak Molla said it was now impossible to stop the acquisition through legal means.
“They (the Opposition) can only put up physical resistance. However, I doubt whether the protesters will be able to do much.
“On 993 acres of open ground, they will have to turn it into a virtual battlefield to make an impact,” said Molla.
Officials said the WBIDC is free to take possession of the land but is waiting for more farmers to pick up compensation cheques.
Industries minister Nirupam Sen had said yesterday that the act of taking physical possession of the land would start “only after a substantial number of people have received the compensation”.
The government feels the situation on the ground is improving with 1,898 people collecting their cheques till 7 pm today.
“Around 1,600 people had filled up the consent forms for giving up land. This shows that more people have decided to accept compensation,” Das said.
Around 500 farmers, who hadn’t agreed to sell, approached the administration for their share of compensation.
“These are farmers who haven’t yet got the mutation (change of ownership) done in their name. But they have seen the names of relatives and friends on the compensation list and want to know the procedure for giving up their share. We will conduct a separate hearing for them,” Das said.