The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government has laid the blame on the erstwhile Left Front government for the Singur land case in which an arbitral tribunal awarded compensation to Tata Motors for losses incurred in the now scrapped Tata Nano plant in the State.
A three-member arbitral tribunal had awarded Tata Motors a compensation of ₹765.68 crore plus interest for losses incurred after the company had to stall the Nano car project at Singur and relocate its plant to Gujarat’s Sanand in 2008, following a strong anti-land acquisition protest, backed by Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, then in the opposition.
“The situation had been created by the erstwhile Left Front government. In 2016, the Supreme Court had termed the acquisition of land in Singur illegal. The Left Front government had allowed Tatas to set up the factory on illegally acquired land. Also, the agreement that Tata Motors had with WBIDC (West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation) was signed during the Left Front rule in the State,” State finance minister, Chandrima Bhattacharya, told businessline on Tuesday.
“The State industry department will surely take decisions on the present case,” Bhattacharya said.
According to informed sources, the government is mulling legal measures
In a stock exchange filing on Monday, Tata Motors said, “On account of the loss of capital investments, with regard to the automobile manufacturing facility at Singur, this is to inform that the aforesaid pending arbitral proceedings before a three-member Arbitral Tribunal has now been finally disposed of by a unanimous award dated October 30, 2023 in favour of TML.”
The company said it had been held to be entitled to recover from the WBIDC a sum of ₹765.78 crore with interest thereon at the rate of 11 per cent per annum from September 1, 2016, till actual recovery thereof. It has also been allowed to recover a sum of ₹1 crore from WBIDC towards the cost of the proceedings.
The erstwhile Left Front government, led by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, had acquired nearly 1,000 acres of land in Singur in 2006 and handed it over to Tata Motors to build a manufacturing facility. But the land acquisition was opposed by the then opposition leader and Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee. Banerjee had protested against what she alleged was “forceful land acquisition”. Eventually, the automaker had to shelve the Singur project.
The Supreme Court in 2016 held that the land acquisition in Singur was “illegal”.
“State is paying for the arrogance and destructive politics @MamataOfficial and penalties for demolition of a near-complete manufacturing unit along with the dream of jobseekers,” CPI(M) state secretary Md. Salim said on social media platform ‘X’.