Kolkata: Amid walkout by the opposition Left Front lawmakers, the West Bengal Assembly Tuesday passed a bill to return a portion of the land acquired by the erstwhile regime from "unwilling owners" for setting up the now abandoned Tata Motors small car factory in Singur.
The Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Bill, 2011 was passed by voice vote amidst thumping of desks by jubilant treasury bench members after the legislation 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 Trinamool Congress`s poll promise to return 400 acres to the farmers who were unwilling to sell their land.
The Left Front members staged a walkout alleging that the government had misled the house, flouted constitutional norms and that the bill had several legal loopholes.
Hours after Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee was sworn in as the Chief Minister May 20, the state cabinet`s first decision was to return the land to the farmers.
The Trinamool Congress, decimated in the 2006 assembly polls, saw its political graph climb sharply after it spearheaded a peasant agitation against the state government`s acquisition of land for the Nano small car project.
Faced with the sustained and intense protests in 2008, Tata Motors shifted the plant to Sanand in Gujarat.
The agitation helped in turning the fortunes for the Trinamool, which in later years went from strength to strength to unseat the 34-year-old Left Front government in the recent Assembly elections, and take over power in alliance with the Congress.