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Singur FIAT-TATA Project, India


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.

In June 2012 the Supreme Court stayed a Calcutta High Court judgement that invalidated the Singur Land Act which was giving back land to farmers, formerly awarded to the Tata Group. By the mid-2014, the activist “Medha Patkar has appealed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to return the land at Singur to farmers using the new Land Acquisition Act”. The situation remains blocked as Tata Motors and the West Bengala State government brought their dispute for the 1,000 acres to court. The lives of impoverished and non-compensated farming families are depending on the  results of the court case

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Singur FIAT-TATA Project, India
State or province:Singur, West Bengala
Location of conflict:Singur
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
Other industries
Manufacturing activities
Specific commodities:Manufactured Products

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Tata 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:400
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2006
Company names or state enterprises:Tata Group from India
Tata Motors from India
Fiat from Italy
Industrial Development Corporation from India
Relevant government actors:Government of West Bengala, Supreme Court of India, Communist Party of India , Revolutionary Socialist Party
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Trinamool 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

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Threats to use arms
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsVisible: Deaths
Potential: Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical 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


Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Repression
Criminalization of activists
Land demarcation
New legislation
Violent targeting of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
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 alternatives:3-5 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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain: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 & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

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 to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Dasgupta Biplab, Globalization, India's Adjustment Experience, Ed. SAGE Publications, 2005

Batabyal Rakesh, Communalism in Bengal, Ed. SAGE ublications, 2005

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

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

The land acquisition Act, 1894

National Revolutionary Socialist Party

The voracious land-eaters, Ranabir Samaddar, 30/01/2015

"Industrialisation in West Bengal" Workshop, 2007

Special Economic Zones in India

Reports and Articles on Singur, Parisar

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

CPM local boss arrested for Singur girl’s murder, 29/06/2007

Tatas begin construction at Singur, 21/01/2007

State files Singur affidavit, the Times of India, 08/01/2007

Singur: just the facts, please, The Hindu, 13/012/2006

Behind the events at Nandigram, The Hindu, 30/03/2007

Tata website

Fiat website

National Alliance of People's Movements

Supreme Court of India

Communist Party of India

UITA - Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

UN Global Compact

Center for Science and Environment

Tatas break ground - Work begins at Singur with local role, The Telegraph, 21/01/2007

All India Trinamool Congress

Singur Tata Nano controversy

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

Singur farmers want their land back ahead of crucial verdict on land acquisition case, 18/05/2012

Calcutta High Court strikes down Singur Land Act, The Hindu, 23/06/2012

Return land in Singur to farmers: Medha to Mamata Banerjee, 29/08/2014

Save Singur turns sour, 24/01/2007

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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

Supreme Court of Calcutta Order, NDTV, August 2012

Other documents

Protest against the Nano car factory in Singur

Meta information

Contributor:Lucie Greyl
Last update23/02/2016



Protest against the Nano car factory in Singur