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WB: Land once acquired by government cannot be returned legally, says TMC minister

The remarks were in sharp contrast to the party line which had been demanding the return of land of the unwilling farmers.

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Updated:October 30, 2014, 7:41 AM IST
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WB: Land once acquired by government cannot be returned legally, says TMC minister
The remarks were in sharp contrast to the party line which had been demanding the return of land of the unwilling farmers.

Kolkata: In sharp contrast to Trinamool Congress' consistent stance seeking return of land to "unwilling farmers" in Singur, senior minister in the TMC government Malay Ghatak caused a flutter by saying that land once acquired by government cannot be returned legally.

The remarks by the Labour Minister, made in industrial town Durgapur, came on a day when another senior minister Partha Chatterjee, in an apparent plea to the Tatas for return of land to Singur farmers, hoped that the group would resolve the "grievances" of the peasants.

"You know the law. The land was acquired for Andal Airport project. Similarly, land was acquired by the state government in Singur (for the Tata Motors factory). In Singur, there are farmers who have not taken compensation cheque. There is no legal provision for returning land once acquired by the state government (for any project)," Ghatak told reporters on the sidelines of an administrative meeting.

The meeting was held to discuss the issue pertaining to unwilling farmers not taking compensation with regard to 109 acres of land for the Andal project.

This was the first such comment by a TMC minister, in sharp contrast to the party line. The party, including its supremo Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, had been demanding the return of land of the unwilling farmers.

Earlier in the day, Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said the recent meeting of the Chief Minister with top officials of Tata Group companies was an "encouraging step" for investment."

"It will be nice for them if they resolve the grievances of farmers in Singur as the Tatas stand for the people," Chatterjee, also the Secretary General of Trinmool Congress, said.

He said the Tatas were contributing to investment in West Bengal with some companies of the group operating in the state.

On October 27, Banerjee had met the managing directors of six Tata Group companies and told them that the state government would do "its best" to solve any problems faced by them.

In September 2008 during the previous Left Front regime, the Tatas had left Singur and set up their Nano car plant at Sanand in Gujarat following an agitation by the then opposition Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee over acquisition of land in the area.

A case regarding this is pending in the Supreme Court.

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