Singur FIAT-TATA Project, India

Thanks to the local population severe opposition to the car factory, the company withdrew from the fertile lands of Singur. Still the farmers have not been given back their lands.


Description

The West Bengal State, under the United Left goverment pushed for giving land to the Tata Group for the development of the Nano car. The Tata Group is the largest industrial conglomerate in India. For long it has been looking for the development of a low cost small car. A site in the region of Singur, in West Bengal some 35 kilometres from Calcutta (Kolkata), was chosen in 2006 for the industrial production process. This transfer of land use, in a terrain that is very fertile and allocated for agriculture, was opposed by the local population and especially its farmers. After intensive protests and killings, splashing local political leaders the project was stopped in September 2008 and the company implanted its project to the state of Gujarat.

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Basic Data
NameSingur FIAT-TATA Project, India
CountryIndia
ProvinceSingur, West Bengala
SiteSingur
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Manufacturing activities
Other industries
Specific CommoditiesLand
Manufactured Products
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsTata Motors, the groups car and truck division, along with the FIAT group, has been studying the development of a low cost car. Agreement with Fiat was reached in June 2006. The area designated for factory construction was on a very fertile terrain given over to agriculture after land reforms and redistribution following the 'peasant uprisings' in the 1970s. The land covers an area of 1000 acres, around 400 hectares, which is divided into lots of various sizes. This requisition of land is enabled by the application of the colonial Land Acquisition Act.

The conflict in the area increased when in the area of Nandigram 22,000 hectares of land were allocated to the Indonesia-owned industrial group Industrial Development Corporation for the construction of a large petrochemical system.

The government of West Bengal has planned the establishment of at least six other industrial projects in the area, defined a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
Project Area (in hectares)400
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2006
Company Names or State EnterprisesTata Group from India
Tata Motors from India
Fiat from Italy
Industrial Development Corporation from India
Relevant government actorsGovernment of West Bengala, Supreme Court of India, Communist Party of India , Revolutionary Socialist Party
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersTrinamool Congress Party - India, NAPM - National Alliance of Peoples Movements - India, Krishjami Raksha Committee (India), Save Land Committee - India, PBKMS, UITA - Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide, CSE (Centre for Science and Environment) - India
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Women
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Strikes
Threats to use arms
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsVisible: Deaths
Potential: Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseRepression
Criminalization of activists
Land demarcation
New legislation
Violent targeting of activists
Deaths
Negotiated alternative solution
Project cancelled
The status of the land that has been sold to Tata in Singur under goverment pressure is still uncertain in 2012.
Development of Alternatives3-5 August, 2011: The Indian social movements and the Sangharsh collective group meet Indian MPs in New Delhi, demanding the repeal of the Land Acquisition Act. They also ask for new and far-reaching legislation that takes into consideration the territories needs, that ensures changes in land use are made for the public good and implements agricultural reforms for distributive justice.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.02/09/2008: As a result of the ongoing protests, Tata announced that Tata Motors planned to leave the plant in Singur. The United Left government lost the elections, to the Trinamool (under Mamata Banerjee). The real objective of the protest goes beyond this, it is to repeal the Land Acquisition Act and the land grabbing going on for SEZs (Special Economic Zones). But the farmers have not yet recuperated their lands, the several attempts by the State Government were so far obstructed.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Land Acquisition Act

Final Report of Public Hearing

Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, to return a portion of the land acquired for the Tata Motors’ factory, invalidated by the Calcutta Supreme Court

References

Dasgupta Biplab, Globalization, India's Adjustment Experience, Ed. SAGE Publications, 2005
[click to view]

Batabyal Rakesh, Communalism in Bengal, Ed. SAGE ublications, 2005
[click to view]

Pawar S.N., Patil R.B., Salunkhe S.A., Environmental Movements in India: Strategies and Practices, Ed. Rawat Publications, 2005
[click to view]

Links

The land acquisition Act, 1894
[click to view]

National Revolutionary Socialist Party
[click to view]

The voracious land-eaters, Ranabir Samaddar, 30/01/2015
[click to view]

"Industrialisation in West Bengal" Workshop, 2007
[click to view]

Special Economic Zones in India
[click to view]

Reports and Articles on Singur, Parisar
[click to view]

Tata Motors' small car to roll out of Singur by 2008, BusinessLine, 26/11/2006
[click to view]

CPM local boss arrested for Singur girl’s murder, 29/06/2007
[click to view]

Tatas begin construction at Singur, 21/01/2007
[click to view]

State files Singur affidavit, the Times of India, 08/01/2007
[click to view]

Singur: just the facts, please, The Hindu, 13/012/2006
[click to view]

Behind the events at Nandigram, The Hindu, 30/03/2007
[click to view]

Tata website
[click to view]

Fiat website
[click to view]

National Alliance of People's Movements
[click to view]

Supreme Court of India
[click to view]

Communist Party of India
[click to view]

UITA - Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide
[click to view]

UN Global Compact
[click to view]

Center for Science and Environment
[click to view]

Save Singur turns sour, 24/01/2007
[click to view]

Tatas break ground - Work begins at Singur with local role, The Telegraph, 21/01/2007
[click to view]

All India Trinamool Congress
[click to view]

Singur Tata Nano controversy
[click to view]

Singur: Legal war over land between Mamata Banerjee government and Tata Motors leaves youth and farmers in lurch, The Economic TImes, 20/07/2015
[click to view]

Singur farmers want their land back ahead of crucial verdict on land acquisition case, 18/05/2012
[click to view]

Calcutta High Court strikes down Singur Land Act, The Hindu, 23/06/2012
[click to view]

Return land in Singur to farmers: Medha to Mamata Banerjee, 29/08/2014
[click to view]

Media Links

Supreme Court asks Tata Group to give back Singur land to the farmers, NDTV, July 2013
[click to view]

Supreme Court of Calcutta Order, NDTV, August 2012
[click to view]

Other Documents

Protest against the Nano car factory in Singur http://www.rediff.com/
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorLucie Greyl
Last update23/02/2016
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