Singur land bill full of flaws, says CPI-M

Kolkata, June 14: West Bengal opposition leader Surya Kanta Mishra Tuesday termed the Singur land bill passed by the state assembly as ‘faulty’ as it did not have any clause to authorise return of the land to farmers who gave it for the car plant on their own.

Amid walkout by the Left Front members, the state assembly Tuesday passed the legislation to return a portion of the land the former Left Front government had acquired from ‘unwilling owners’ for setting up the Tata Motors’ small car factory in Singur.

‘What we thought when we decided to support the bill was that it must be a amendment of the 1894 Land Acquisition Act, because without amending it there can be no other way to give back the land,’ said Mishra, after walking out of the assembly.

The Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Bill, 2011, was passed by voice vote amidst thumping of desks by jubilant treasury benches members after it was placed in the house by Commerce and Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee.

The bill seeks to scrap the 997.17-acre land lease with Tata Motors, enabling the government to take back the land to fulfill the ruling Trinamool Congress’s poll promise to return 400 acres to the farmers who were unwilling to sell their lands.

The Left Front members staged a walkout, alleging that the government misled the house, flouted constitutional norms and that the bill has several legal loopholes.

‘This bill, which was placed in the assembly, is a stand alone bill. It has no reference to the Land Acquisition Act. But the land was acquired under the act (of 1894) then. How is it possible that there is no reference to the act?’ asked Mishra.

‘There will be a clash between this bill and other all India acts such as Transfer of Property Act. In this bill, there is no definition of ‘unwilling’ farmers. In this bill. it is also not written that those who get back the land will have to use it for agricultural purposes,’ the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader said.

IANS