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Singur: Mamata-Tata deal on the cards?


Priyanka Gupta,CNN-IBN
May 24, 2011 at 08:08am IST

Singur: Mamata Banerjee's first cabinet decision after becoming the West Bengal Chief Minister was to return 400 acres to the unwilling farmers of Singur, also opening a window for the Tatas to set up a plant in the remaining 600 acres.

The promise that catapulted Mamata Banerjee into power is soon going to become a reality for thousand of farmers in Singur. But the process may not be that simple.

Many of these farmers own land scattered across the entire area and demarcating the 400 acres will not be easy. Like Meghnath Das, whose father died as he couldn't bear the shock of losing his ancestral land. Meghnath's mother was even jailed for protecting it. The 28 yr old goes to Kolkata to earn his living and wonders if they will ever get their original plot back.

"I will not take any other land but ours," says Meghnath.

Meghnath's family is not the only one. 64-year-old Ramapada Das' land that was once covered in multiple crops, is now layered with cement.

Ramapada said, "What's the point of returning that land if we can't cultivate. The government has to reinstate the land in its original form so that we can start farming again."

Then there are those who gave up their land like Tarun Das here who told CNN-IBN that he now wants added compensation at current real estate rates.

"The real estate prices have gone up. We should be given added compensation because we incurred a loss," Tarun Das said.

The clock is also ticking for the Tatas. In October, they might run the risk of their lease agreement being terminated as that land has not been used in more than three years.

Former Land Reforms Commissioner of West Bengal Debobroto Bandyopadhyay said, "Tatas used the land in five years. Their lease should be immediately cancelled. What have they been given the land for? In fact they should pay compensation."

It is a promise made by Mamata Banerjee that propelled her into power. A promise that she now intends to keep a dangerous tightrope walk where every step needs to be taken very cautiously as the future of thousands of farmers now lie in her hands.

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