Kolkata: On a day when Hooghly's Singur is voting in the panchayat polls, the Tata Group on Monday iterated its commitment to West Bengal saying it would never leave the state. "We have never left West Bengal and we will never leave," Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry said during the 15th annual general meeting of Tata Global Beverages in Kolkata.
He was replying to a shareholder's query about the group's failed plan to roll out the Nano car from a plant in Hooghly district's Singur.
The company had to shift the Nano project to Sanand in Gujarat on October 3, 2008, following intense protests against acquisition of farrmlands, led by Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, which demanded the then Left Front government return 400 acres it had allegedly taken "by using force" from farmers unwilling to part with their lands.
Riding on the farmers' response to the Singur protests, the Trinamool gained popularity across the state and Banerjee became Chief Minister by unseating the Left Front in 2011 polls. The abandoned factory still stands like a haunted house, but the famers are yet to get back their lands due to litigation.
The Banerjee government passed the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Bill, 2011, and acquired the land. But the auto makers moved the court.
Though a single bench of the Calcutta High Court ruled that the act was valid, a division bench declared it unconstitutional and void. The matter is now pending before the Supreme Court, which recently suggested the Tatas may return the land to the state government. Singur went to the hustings on Monday in the second phase of the panchayat polls in the state.