Singur TATA

Tata Motors claims that a three-member tribunal has awarded it a compensation of Rs 765.68 crore with 11% interest per annum calculated from September 1, 2016 till the time of recovery for the aborted and abandoned Nano factory project of Singur. The money is to be recovered from the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC).

Nothing could be more absurd, arbitrary and unjust for the people of West Bengal who are now expected to bear an added burden for an abandoned project and wasted agricultural land. The Singur project had to be called off because of the local people's resistance to the acquisition of fertile multi-crop land. No project can be imposed on a people in the face of local opposition.

Indeed, Singur is just one instance of popular opposition to a project - from Niyamgiri, Kalinganagar and POSCO in Odisha to Sterlite in Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, there are several recent instances of similar opposition because of the forcible nature of land acquisition, environmental degradation or mass displacement.

In the case of the Nano car, the idea of the car itself turned out to be flawed and the project failed even in Gujarat where it had been quickly relocated. Making the people of West Bengal now pay after nearly two decades for a flawed idea and an aborted and abandoned project built on forcibly destroyed cultivation and livelihood of thousands of land- and livelihood-losing households amounts to adding a cruel insult to a profound injury.

The people and government of West Bengal must refuse to accept this brazen corporate appeasement in the name of an arbitration award.

- Statement by CPI(ML) Liberation issued on October 30