India updatePublished by MAC on 2007-02-23
23rd February 2007
Late last year we reported the huge resistance of farmers and their families in Singur, to the imposition of a massive car manufacturing lant on their land by Tata, backed by the so-called left wing "peoples" state government of West Bengal.
While this struggle did not directly relate to mining, it has galvanised criticism around the country over the headlong pace at which land is being stolen from farmers and Indigenous peoples in favour of the industrial sector (including mining), especially through the designation of special economic zones (SEZs), with their raft of tax breaks and dilution of adequate social and environmental standards.
Now, while the Indian Supreme Court seems increasingly powerless to intervene to prevent such desecration, Calcutta's High Court has ruled that the Singur acquisition was illegal.
Will this set a precedent?
State government ruled guilty of illegally acquiring Singur land
Zee News, Kolkata
23rd February 2007 :
In a major jolt to the West Bengal government, Calcutta High Court on Friday held the state government guilty of illegally acquiring land of Singur villagers.
The court has directed state government to furnish all the details including copy of agreements by the means of affidavit.
Taking a strict stand on the issue, the court said that the state is prima facie at fault and hinted cancelling all land acquisitions made by the government so far.
The court said that the forceful acquisitions amounted to abuse of power and rights of the farmers were infringed.
The Calcutta High Court on February 14 had quashed prohibitory orders imposed at Singur, which witnessed protests over the acquisition of land for a Tata Motors` car plant. The court had observed that there was no ingredient for invoking Section 144 of CrPC.
The latest observation could spell serious trouble for the Tata Motor project that has already been in the storm from the time of its clearance. Several opposition parties led by Mamata Banerjee have opposed it tooth and nail.
The project has also seen opposition from with the Left Front with not all willing to toe Chief Minister Buddhadeb’s line.