Even 14 months after SC verdict, `unwilling' Singur farmers continue to get compensation from state

Govt cites farmers' interest as reason behind the gesture
Report by: 
Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay
Kolkata
31 Oct 2017

Fourteen months after the Supreme Court had quashed the land acquisition at Singur for a small car plant for Tata Motors and ordered the state government to return the 997 acres of land to all the farmers who parted with their land for the car manufacturing unit, the state government, citing interest of the farmers, continues to pay  Rs 8.67 crore annually to all those `unwilling' farmers,  even though all of them had got their land back one year back, thanks to the apex court judgement.

It was on June 5, 2012 that the state government took a decision to give Rs 1000 to 3613 farmers of Singur who refused to accept the price of their land taken away from them by the erstwhile state government for the Nano plant of the Tatas. In the same month on June 26 the state government revised the decision and chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced at a media conference that the `unwilling' farmers, as the peasants who refused to accept the cheques were called, would receive Rs 2000 each every month, apart from receiving 2 kg of rice per head at the cost of Rs 2 a kilo. She also announced that the `unwilling' farmers would stop receiving the money after they got their land back.

According to sources in the state government, money for payment to the 3613 farmers who got their land back along with those who accepted the price for their land, has been cleared for the period till December this year.  Apart from the money they will receive the rice too from the state government, The Echo of India has learnt. After the Supreme Court verdict on August 30, 2016 that asked the state government to return all the 997 acres of land belonging to Singur farmers, the state government started working on it on a war footing and returned almost the entire land to all farmers---both willing (those who received cheques) and unwilling, in about three months time. And the state government cites interest of the farmers and their sacrifice and sustained struggle against forcible land acquisition as reason behind the gesture.

``It is under the instruction of our chief minister Mamata Banerjee that the compensation to the farmers is still being given...and it will be continued....we have their interest in our mind, think of their struggle for 10 years, the immense sacrifice they made and in comparison the money is too small, '' Tapan Dasgupta, minister for agricultural marketing, told Echo of India.