Singur (West Bengal): Giving the West Bengal government seven days to return the land it acquired allegedly by force for Tata Motors' project here, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said farmers should divide the land among themselves if the state failed to keep to the deadline. Adopting a tough posture at a rally close to the plot where stands the abandoned factory that was once slated to roll out the world's cheapest Nano car, Banerjee said the Trinamool-run village bodies would back the peasants if they forcibly took hold of the 400 acres.
"Seven days is enough time. Our movement will continue. I urge the Krishijami Jiban or Jibika Raksha Committee (Save Agricultural Land, life and Livelihood Committee) to wait for seven days. After that if nothing happens, then measure the land, and divide it among the peasants.
"Then prepare a land map. The gram panchayat and panchayat samiti are with you," Banerjee said.
Tata Motors' bid to manufacture the Nano car from the Singur facility did not succeed after the Trinamool-backed farmers' body carried out sustained protests against allegedly forcible land acquisition.
In October last year, the company shifted the project to Sanand in Gujarat.
The company had invested Rs 15 billion in Singur for the project which was to come up on 997.11 acres acquired by the government.
Attacking Dunlop India promoter P K Ruia for not reopening the Sahaganj factory, Banerjee said: "If it is not opened, the workers will take pieces of the factory land."
Reminding Ruia that he has not paid wages to the workers for months, she said: "If somebody feels he will sell off the factory and equipment and leave, then I will tell him to be careful. Workers are keeping vigil."