Mrunal Manmay Dash

Tata Motors has achieved a significant win as the arbitral tribunal ruled in favour of the company, ordering the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation Limited (WBIDC) to pay Tata Motors Rs 765.78 crore in compensation for the abandoned factory at Singur, along with an 11 per cent interest.

Additionally, Tata Motors has asserted its right to recover an additional Rs 1 crore from WBIDC to cover the expenses incurred during the legal proceedings.

"... this is to inform that the aforesaid pending arbitral proceedings before a three-member arbitral tribunal has now been finally disposed of by a unanimous award dated October 30, 2023, in favour of TML whereby the claimant (TML) has been held to be entitled to recover from the respondent (WBIDC) a sum of Rs 765.78 crore with interest thereon at 11% per annum from September 1, 2016, till actual recovery thereof," a BSE filing said.

The dispute started in October of 2008 when the automobile manufacturer was compelled to relocate its manufacturing plant from Singur in West Bengal to Sanand in Gujarat due to protests by locals led by politicians.

The project was marked by sporadic disruptions but an indefinite agitation backed by Mamata Banerjee (then in the Opposition in the state) for the return of land to the “unwilling” land losers ultimately resulted in Tata Motors relocating the project to Sanand in Gujarat in 2008.

Tata Motors had invested more than Rs 1,800 crore in establishing the plant that were almost ready to roll out the cars.

The land agitation, in a way, changed the course of Bengal politics. In the assembly election that followed in 2011, the Left Front was decimated by Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress. An ordinance was issued to reclaim the disputed land in Singur. It was followed by the Singur Act to vest the project land.