New Delhi: Tatas, whose small car project Nano, could not take off from Singur in West Bengal, Friday told the Supreme Court that the land allocated for the venture still belongs to its company which could be used for some other purpose.
"Tata`s got lease. We are still there. We have spent crores of rupees and have our infrastructure there. It could be used for some other purpose", senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Tata Motors, submitted before a Bench comprising Justices R V Raveendran and A K Patnaik.
He said that despite having a lease deed for 90 years in its favour for 646 acres of land, there was no activity and the company was paying a rent of Rs one crore every year.
"We have lost Rs 500 crores. We have valid lease and are losing money," the senior advocate said.
Tata`s submission came after those opposing the acquisition of fertile multi-crop agricultural land contended that since the company has moved the project outside Singur, the land should be returned to West Bengal government for giving it back to the farmers.
The counsel, appearing for West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation, said the title of the land was still with the Corporation and if Tata Motor`s kept it unutilised then the land could be taken back.
The Bench, which wanted to fix the final hearing in the matter for March next year, changed its mind after it was pointed out that West Bengal is likely go for assembly lections by May.
At this point, the Bench said "let us decide whether the petition will survive by that time or not" and posted it hearing in May 2011.
The Bench was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the Calcutta High Court`s decision that upheld as legal the acquisition of fertile multi-crop agricultural land by the state government for Tata`s Nano project. Some civil right activists, lawyers and NGOs have appealed against the High Court verdict contending that acquisition of land was in violation of farmers? Rights guaranteed under the constitution.
The project was moved to Gujarat in 2008 due to political protests led by Trinamool Congress.