- The government of West Bengal can acquire land for a private company only through a procedure laid down in the Land Acquisition Act. It perpetrated a fraud by acquiring 1000 acres of land through WBIDC ostensibly for public purpose and then leasing out 643 acres to Tata Motors.
- Now that the "public purpose" for which land was acquired will not materialise (since Tata Motors has exited), the expenditure on the project incurred by the government has gone waste.
- The author makes an estimate of the cost on various counts: land acquisition, cost of construction of 18.75 km boundary wall, provision of police protection for two years, cost of subsidised land transferred from government agencies. The cost adds up to Rs 532 crore. He says this cost should be recovered from Tatas after the CAG has carried out a more careful estimate.
- The leases given to TML and ancillary units should be cancelled. About 400-450 acres of land should kept for the development of an automobile factory for which a global tender for expression of interest should be floated. The rest of the land acquired must be returned to those from whom it was acquired or to the local Panchayat.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Tatas and Singur: who will pick up the tabs?
The Tatas have exited from Singur and made a soft landing in Gujarat. Between Sanand and Pantnagar in Uttaranchal, Tata Motors will be able to roll out the Nano car even if somewhat behind schedule. So the Tatas are taken care of. What happens to Singur and the state of West Bengal? D Bandyopadhyay dissects the issue in an article in EPW. He makes several important points: