Bengal exploring other ways to resolve Singur land impasse

The West Bengal government said it was exploring ways other than legal to transfer land to unwilling farmers in Singur.

Last Updated: Jun 25, 2012, 20:27 PM IST

Kolkata: The West Bengal government on Monday said it was exploring ways other than legal to transfer land to unwilling farmers in Singur days after the Calcutta High Court struck down the Singur land act, while a state minister said he favoured talks with the Tatas to break the impasse.

"By keeping the legal path open we are also pondering if there is any other way to resolve the Singur land impasse," Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee told reporters.

The minister stopped short of disclosing what he meant by the "other way" the state government was looking at, but said, "The state government was committed to return the land to `unwilling` farmers, marginal farmers and `bargadars` (share- croppers) at Singur."

He asserted that people had confidence in Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and "we are keeping all doors open".

Earlier during the day, Agriculture Minister Rabindranath Bhattacharya said he personally saw no harm in negotiating with the Tatas to find a solution to the land tangle in Singur.

"My personal opinion is that there is no harm in negotiating with the Tatas... We had talked in this line before... They (Tatas) do their work on 600 acres and return 400 acres to the farmers," Bhattacharya, who is an MLA from Singur, told reporters at the state secretariat.

Bhattacharya went on to say, "Our fight is not with the
Tatas. Our purpose is to protect the interests of the affected farmers."
Claiming that Singur farmers were not frustrated and had not deviated from the path of movement, the minister said the revived `Krishi Jami Raksha Committee`, which had led the protests against forcible land acquisition in Singur, would continue its movement for protection of farmers` rights though it would be on the "Gandhian line of non-violence".

On the other hand, Governor MK Narayanan said he had thought that the Singur legislation did not require presidential approval.

"I thought we did not require presidential approval. That was the legal advice also," he told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

"If the high court felt otherwise, it is fine. What can we do," he asked.
The Calcutta High Court had ruled on June 23 that the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011, introduced by her government to recover land leased to Tata Motors in Singur for its Nano project was unconstitutional and void.