Amidst a dramatic walkout by the Opposition led by Sura Kanta Mishra of the Communist Party the West Bengal Assembly on Tuesday passed by voice vote the “SINGUR LAND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT BILL, 2011.” Th raise argument staged by the Opposition was that the Bill would grant only leaseholds and not ownerships and create a divide among farmers and may run counter to existing legislations which was unacceptable. Further, raised a point-of-order that none of the legal points were been answered.

The long two-hour debate which featured the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to saw acrimonious scenes with Treasury Benches noisily interrupting the Opposition speakers and the Government Chief Whip Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay was hard to put to control.

The visitors’ galleries were filled with ‘Singur farmers’ and later the Tatas issued a statement that they were studying the Bill and would apt steps.

Ms. Banerjee considered it a ‘historic day’ and opined that the Bill was for meting out justice to people who have been wronged. Moreover responding to the point by the Opposition of it being moved in the Land department and not Industry, she stated that the priority were not technicalities but practical necessities.

Further she emphasized that every minute was important and too much time was lost in West Bengal in reply to the advice offered from former Land and Land Reforms Minister, Abdur Rezzak Mollah and also encouraged constructive advice from the opposition.

In reaction to the suggestion that the present legislation may run counter to the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, the Chief Minister added that the Central Act was a draconian law and an expert committee is constituted to suggest a land policy for West Bengal.

Report by Sumit