Bhattacharjee welcomes mediator in Singur impasse (Second Lead)

September 2nd, 2008 - 9:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 2 (IANS) As work remained suspended at the Tata’s small car Nano factory in Singur for the fourth consecutive day Tuesday, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said his government welcomed an independent mediator to solve the impasse over the land acquired for the project.Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who like Bhattacharjee earlier rejected Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi’s suggestion for a mediator, has already said she is open to talks.

The chief minister also called on the governor Tuesday evening.

With Bhattacharjee also falling in line, it seems a solution to the land acquisition controversy, which forced auto major Tata Motors to threaten to pull out of West Bengal, could just be in sight.

The project has received support from business magnates including Reliance Industries head Mukesh Ambani, Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal and Infosys chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy.

Joining them Tuesday was former Indian cricket skipper Sourav Ganguly, who said the Singur project would revolutionise industrial prospects of West Bengal.

“The starting of the Nano Project will be a beginning of an era in West Bengal which will completely revolutionise the prospect of the state and the future of the youth,” Ganguly said in a statement.

“If this project goes elsewhere, the state will become a dark spot. It is the time for us to stand up (for it),” he said.

Meanwhile, work at the Tata Motors Nano factory at Singur in West Bengal’s Hoogly district remained suspended for the fourth consecutive working day Tuesday.

According to The Telegraph newspaper report here, Tata Motors and its vendors are losing about Rs.10 million (Rs.1 crore) every day on account of work suspension.

There was no work at the factory on Friday, Saturday and Monday due to an indefinite agitation at the plant site by the Trinamool Congress, which is demanding the return of 400 acres taken for the project from farmers who did not want their land to be acquired.
The plant was closed Sunday, it being a weekly holiday.

In another development, the National Highway-2 (NH2), which was partially opened Monday night, was again closed Tuesday morning.

“We have been able to allow 55 trucks to ply towards Kolkata and some others to Bardhaman district till 11 a.m. Tuesday,” said an official of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

He, however, refused to comment on why the highway was closed Tuesday.

“Senior NHAI officials will have a meeting with the Hoogly district administration on this issue soon,” he said.

Tata Motors is slated to roll out the world’s cheapest car Nano from its factory in Singur, 40 km from Kolkata, in October.

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