The process of giving physical possession of land to farmers in Singur will begin on October 20, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Monday.
After a review meeting on Singur at Nabanna, the state secretariat, Mamata said, “A major portion of the land at Singur has been made cultivable. Thus, we would start returning the land which has been restored to its earlier form. I will be present there on October 20 and oversee the whole process.”
Sources said around 40 acres would be handed over on October 20, while another 30 to 50 acres would be handed over over the next few days. By November 10, all farmers are expected to get back their land.
A senior TMC leader said that there would be a gala event in Singur on October 20. “Five stages would be set up and artists from Kolkata will put up a cultural programme there on that day,” he said.
He also said that of the 957 acres of the plot that had earlier been proposed for a Nano site, 857 acres have been rendered cultivable. The rest of the land, where concrete structures have been put up, will be converted with the help of soil and agriculture experts.
Experts, however, said it was nearly impossible to make the land cultivable within such a small time frame. “Around 330 acres of the land would require restoration of the top soil, without which it would not be classified as cultivable, and that process takes at least three years,” said a soil expert.
Another source at Nabanna conceded that making the soil arable was time-consuming. “The cost of converting the land into a cultivable position would be more than Rs 200 crore, which would be borne by the state government,” he said.
A division bench of Justices Arun Mishra and V Gopala Gowda of Supreme Court had on August 31 ruled that the land acquisition process in Singur for the car project was faulty and not for public purpose. The court had directed that the land be returned to the farmers within 12 weeks’ time. Mamata had hailed the Supreme Court verdict as a “landmark victory” and said her government would implement it in letter and spirit.