WITH THE process of physically handing over land to Singur farmers set to begin by October 21, the state government has allegedly found out that a large chunk of the land remained unclaimed, leading it to believe that there was a “massive scam” during Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s Left Front regime.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is reportedly writing a book about the same, which will be released in the Kolkata Book Fair next year, said officials.
Earlier, Mamata had announced that land would be returned to farmers after the end of Durga Puja. But an official said, “We have found that a large portion of the land has remained unclaimed by farmers in Singur. This is unprecedented, and warrants an investigation.”
Trinamool Congress leaders were quick to point out that Mamata had alleged in 2010 that the Left government was embroiled in a number of land scams. Alleging land scam at Rajarhat township, Mamata had alleged that the land was forcibly acquired, as was in the case of Singur, and that due process was not followed.
“We hope to start the process of giving physical possession of land before October 21, after getting a green signal from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Most of the land has been made cultivable except for 75 acres,” said Education Minister and Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee after a meeting with district officials in Singur. On August 31, the Supreme Court, while quashing land acquisition in Singur for the Tata group’s Nano car project, had asked the state government to return land to farmers within 12 weeks. Accordingly, Mamata had set a deadline to complete the process by November 30.
“The government will distribute the land in installments. This will allow us a larger platform to speak about the good work that we have done over the years, particularly in Singur. In the initial phases, we plan to provide physical possession for about 200 acres,” a Trinamool leader said. On September 29, Mamata had given a October 21 dateline to remove all constructions from the project area. Redeeming a pledge she made years ago, she had returned 9,117 land records to farmers and compensated 800 from whom land was acquired against their wishes.