Tatas want to go, but Buddhadeb will make one last try: minister

September 25th, 2008 - 6:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 25 (IANS) Admitting that there was “almost no possibility” of the Nano car rolling out of Singur, a senior West Bengal minister Thursday said Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee would make a final request to Tata Motors to restart operations in the facility.”There is almost no possibility that the Nano project will materialise in Singur in view of the present political turbulence in the state. However, the government is still trying to hold them (Tata Motors) back and the chief minister himself will once again request the Tata authorities to stay back,” state PWD Minister Kshiti Goswami said Thursday.

“The Tatas are not interested in staying in the state. They have said they don’t feel comfortable working under police protection. In other states they can work more comfortably. Chances of the Nano coming out from Singur are very bleak if the Tatas continue with their present stand,” Goswami told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

The government, he said, would also appeal to the opposition Trinamool Congress to withdraw its agitation against land acquisition of the car project and come for discussions.

“We will tell them that they also must be keen for the state’s industrialisation, which is not possible if the Tatas leave”.

The project to roll out the world’s least expensive car priced at Rs.100,000 ($2,250) has faced tough times since its inception 28 months back over land acquisition. A section of ‘landlosers’ led by Trinamool Congress has launched a sustained movement to press for return of a part of the acquired land.

Asking for the return of 400 acres the government allegedly forcibly acquired from farmers, the protesters have laid siege to the Tatas’ Singur factory from Aug 24.

The company suspended operations from Sep 2, fearing for the security of its employees after some of them were threatened and manhandled by the protesters.

Discussions with the government in the presence of Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi failed to resolve the stalemate. Finally, the chief minister announced a fresh compensation package that was rejected by the Trinamool Congress and also failed to lure a majority of the reluctant farmers.

With no solution to the deadlock in sight, Tata Motors has already started moving key equipment from its small-car factory at Singur - in what appears to signal the group’s decision not to roll out the car from the state, at least for the moment.

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