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Singur: HC directs Tatas to serve notice on Bengal government

Last updated on: June 22, 2011 11:28 IST

Singur: HC directs Tatas to serve notice on Bengal government

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Calcutta high court on Wednesday refused to hear ex-parte Tata Motors' petition challenging the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011.

Justice Saumitra Pal, while taking up the petition filed by the Tata Motors, directed its counsel Samaraditya Pal to serve notice to the state government and said the matter would be taken up at 12 noon.

Samaraditya Pal submitted that he wanted to move the petition ex-parte, but the court refused to entertain his plea.

The Act scrapped the previous Left Front government's deal with Tata Motors and provided for return of land to unwilling farmers.

The Bill was passed in the state Assembly on June 14, amid a walkout by the Opposition Left parties, by voice vote along with some amendments brought by the government.

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Image: Policemen with riot gear stand guard inside the entrance of Nano factory.
Photographs: Jayanta Shaw/Reuters
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Singur: HC directs Tatas to serve notice on Bengal government

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According to an earlier report by Business Standard, hours after the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government notified the Singur Bill on Tuesday, Tata Motors upped the ante by issuing a notice against any unannounced move from the government's side, paving the way for a legal battle, as early as Wednesday.

"We will move court tomorrow," barrister S Pal, who is representing Tata Motors, told PTI in Kolkata on Tuesday.

The Tata Motors notice, dated June 18, which was pasted on the gate of its erstwhile Nano factory at Singur, was aimed at intimating that no Tata Motors official was based at the site and any unannounced visit should not be made at odd hours since the factory housed valuable items.

The company has sought at least five hours' notice and it would respond the following working day.
Any contravention would not be binding on Tata Motors.

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Image: Tata Motors chairman Ratan Tata (left) poses with Nano car.
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters
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Singur: HC directs Tatas to serve notice on Bengal government

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The state government on Tuesday notified the Singur Bill, revoking the lease agreement between the West Bengal government and Tata Motors for the entire 997 acres allocated to the company and its 54 vendors.

A notice from the state government, pasted on the Tata Motors factory site, said it would not be responsible for assets at the site.

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Image: Mamata Banerjee takes part in a protest rally in Singur.
Photographs: Reuters
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Singur: HC directs Tatas to serve notice on Bengal government

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The government notice on the factory gate was put up after the auto manufacturer had pasted its notice.

Vendors were likely to make a joint decision, while the 11,000 willing farmers of Singur under the aegis of the 'Singur Shilpa Bikash O Unnayan Committee' had already sought legal opinion.

"We were waiting for the notification and will move court over the next few days," Udayan Das of the Committee said.

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Image: Tata Motors security personnel and policemen stand guard at Singur factory.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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Singur: HC directs Tatas to serve notice on Bengal government

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The notification came a week after the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Bill, 2011, was passed by the West Bengal legislative assembly.

The Bill received Governor M K Narayanan's assent on Monday.

Tata Motors came out with a strongly-worded statement the day the Bill was passed in the assembly.

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Image: The abandoned plant of Tata's Nano in Singur.
Photographs: Jayanta Shaw/Reuters
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Singur: HC directs Tatas to serve notice on Bengal government

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"The Bill mentions 'non-commissioning and abandoning' of the project by Tata Motors and goes on to state that 'no employment generation and socio-economic development has taken place and people in and around the area have not benefited in any manner. . . " the Bill does not state the reasons for stoppage of operations and shifting of the plant, the company had said.

Tata Motors pulled out of the Nano project in October 2008 after a violent protest against land acquisition spearheaded by Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress.

The movement catapulted the party's fortunes, which swept the recent assembly elections to form the West Bengal government.


Image: A farmer at a construction site in Singur.
Photographs: Parth Sanyal/Reuters
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