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Rediff.com  » Business » Singur opposition fading, more land losers collect cheques

Singur opposition fading, more land losers collect cheques

February 18, 2008 10:32 IST

The dissent against the Tata Motors Rs 1 lakh car project at Singur appears to be finally ebbing with the disputed land being reduced to 120 acres vis-à-vis the earlier level of 330 acres.

More and more people, who had earlier refused to accept compensation for their acquired land, were coming forward and collecting cheques.

Some more had come forward after the Calcutta High Court last month rejected all applications filed by land losers and some non-government bodies against the acquisition of land at Singur and the handing over of land for the Tata Motors and ancillary factories at the site.

Of course, there are others connected to the land acquisition process, who claim that the land-owners unwilling to give their land for the project would account for less than 330 acres. But that is the estimate put forward by the Opposition.

According to Prosenjit Chakraborty, block development officer, the people who were now collecting cheques were giving their land at the earlier rates fixed and there had been no enhancement of rates. The High Court bench in its verdict has kept a provision for private petitioners seeking higher compensation to approach the land acquisition collectorate.

The process is on and there is still a faction of people who are unwilling to give up their land. Chakraborty said, "We are still trying to persuade them to opt for alternative livelihoods."

Around 14 syndicates have been set up by land-losers who are supplying materials for the construction of the project.

One of the land-losers has taken dealership of Sintex and is now trying to involve other land-losers in his dealership.

That is apart from the 2,000 people who have registered for ITI training.

But Chakraborty felt that the real benefits of the project would be felt once the plant went onstream. Locals involved in the project expect the project to first start with assembling the cars.

"That should happen around June-July," said a source close to the development. Efforts from the state government side were also being made to help the project, which lost a lot of time dealing with the flooding at the project site during the monsoons.

A master plan is being prepared by the state irrigation department, primarily focused at drainage at the project site.

The Julkia canal which flooded the site was being widened by around 6km. Also a bridge would be built, which would connect the Kana river in Chandanagore and that's where the water would flow out to.

However, not everything would be borne by the state government. A low lying project site meant that Tata Motors and some of the ancillary units would have to invest in raising the land by around 1.5 metres.

Ishita Ayan Dutt & Pradeep Gooptu in Kolkata/ Singur
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