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Tata Motors asked to file reply on Singur
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April 15, 2008 17:28 IST

Tata Motors [Get Quote], which was on Tuesday allowed to become a party to a dispute over its small car factory in Singur, asked the Supreme Court not to pass any orders on a petition seeking halt of the project without hearing its views.

A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, while allowing Tatas to implead itself in the case, asked the car maker to file its reply within two weeks and posted the matter for hearing on May 13.

Tata Motors, which proposes to roll out the world's cheapest car Nano from the Singur facility, submitted before the court that it had spent more than Rs 700 crore (Rs 7 billion) on the small car project.

The petition filed by Kedar Nath Yadav, a practicing lawyer, while seeking immediate halt of the Nano car project challenged the High Court's decision that held as legal, the acquisition of land by West Bengal government for the project.

The acquisition of fertile multi-crop agricultural land by the government in various parts of the state for Tata Motors' upcoming project, for Indonesia's Salim Group in Haldia and the Reliance [Get Quote] group, was violative of farmers' rights guaranteed by the Constitution, Yadav's petition filed through Sarla Chandra stated. It also goes against the provisions of Land Acquisition Act, 1894, the petition said.

Such action on the part of the state government to acquire 997.11 acres of land at Singur in the name of public purpose without any specific master plan and depriving farmers of their livelihood without giving proper compensation was malafide, arbitrary and illegal, the petition said.

While seeking a direction to the government against evicting or dispossessing farmers from their lands, it alleged that the government was torturing these farmers by deploying 26,000 police force to demolish their houses and occupy land which was the source of livelihood to thousands of people.

Yadav further alleged that the state government had invested large amounts of public funds in favour of one private company. The High Court, on January 18, had held as legal the acquisition of land for the Tata Motors' unit.

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