Security guard at Tata’s Singur plant beaten up (Lead)

September 23rd, 2008 - 2:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Singur/Kolkata, Sep 23 (IANS) A private security guard at the Tata Motors plant in Singur in West Bengal was beaten up by a group of unidentified men even as work at the factory once slated to roll out the world’s cheapest car Nano continued to be suspended for the third week running.West Bengal Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said: “About three to four miscreants attacked the guard Monday night. Some people at the site chased them but could not get hold of them.”

Plant sources said the guard, who was sleeping, was beaten with iron rods. He has been taken to hospital.

They added that the men who attacked the guard entered the project area through the paint shop since few policemen and guards were positioned there.

On Sep 2, Tata Motors had announced the suspension of work at the factory - planned to build the world’s least expensive car Nano - after local farmers backed by the opposition Trinamool Congress laid siege to it Aug 24.

Meanwhile, the West Bengal government has extended by two days the Monday deadline for the farmers who had not taken compensation cheques earlier to accept an additional 10 percent of the land price.

The state government had advertised a six-point rehabilitation package Sep 14, providing additional cash compensation of 50 percent of the price originally offered for the land acquired.

Farmers, who had not accepted the compensation cheques for their land, were promised an additional 10 percent if they claimed the land price by Monday.

In Kolkata, the vice chancellors of 12 universities of the state have circulated an open letter stressing the need for the Nano project.

“Industrialisation is a must for creating additional job opportunities for the youth. It is in this regard that we need the Nano plant,” the letter said.

Since the project was announced in 2006, the factory has faced protests from a section of farmers led by the Trinamool Congress against the “forcible acquisition” of agricultural land for the plant.

The umbrella body of the protestors - Krishijami Jiban Jibika Raksha Committee (KJJRC) - has demanded return of 400 acres to the farmers who were unwilling to part with their land.

An agreement was concluded between the state government and the opposition in the presence of Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi Sep 2 to find the maximum possible land to rehabilitate this section of farmers. Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacahrjee later said only 70 acres were available.

With there being no signs of a resolution to the conflict, the government came out with the compensation package that was rejected by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who has lined up fresh protests.

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