Business community in Kolkata upbeat on Singur decision

September 8th, 2008 - 5:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 8 (IANS) The city’s business community is upbeat following the resolution of the dispute Sunday over land allotted for Tata Motors’ Nano project at Singur in West Bengal.”We are back in business. This is a victory for Bengal,” Indian Chamber of Commerce president and Patton Group managing director Sanjay Budhia told IANS.

The entire world is watching the developments at Singur, 40 kilometres from here, where global automobiles major Tata Motors is building a factory that will produce the world’s cheapest car.

The work at the factory site was severely hit after the state’s principal opposition party, Trinamool Congress, started an agitation around the project site demanding that 400 out of a total of 997.1 acres of land allotted for the project be returned to their original owners.

The party had claimed that this land belonged to those farmers who were ‘unwilling’ to part with their land but were forced to do so by the ruling Left coalition government in the state.

The agitation, which virtually became a siege of the project site for as long as 15 days, disrupted the factory construction work and forced the auto major to withdraw its employees and stop all work at the site for an indefinite period.

On Sunday night, an accord was reached between West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, when they met in person in the study of the Raj Bhavan, the state governor’s official residence, to thrash out all remaining issues.

According to the agreement, the state government will form a committee to look into the affected farmers’ demands.

The committee has been asked to submit its report within seven days. Till then, the construction of the ancillary units will be on hold, said Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi with Bhattacharjee and Banerjee at his side.

“Considerable time has passed, we had to make it a success,” said Budhia.

“Lots of permutations and combinations and flexibility of both the parties together with the crucial role played by the governor helped to achieve this agreement,” Budhia said, adding that the business community is more than happy.

He also said that the Sunday night pact was a much-awaited one.

Talking on similar lines, S. Radhakrishnan, president of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce & Industry and chief executive officer of Descon, a business process outsourcing company, said: “It is very clear from these meetings that all the parties want to settle the matter and are working towards it.”

“I only hope this ultimately works out,” he added.

The business community was holding its breath for the last few weeks and was desperately hoping that a positive solution emerges and this agitation over ‘illegal’ land acquisition at Singur comes to an end.

“It’s a very positive development and hopefully everything will be solved very soon,” said Harshavardhan Neotia, chairman, Ambuja Realty Development Ltd.

“What is much more important is that work should resume,” he added.

“We want Nano to roll out of West Bengal. I think everybody’s focus is how to get the project going. This decision is a positive move,” said Shishir Bajoria, managing director, IFGL Refractories.

The world’s cheapest car Nano, priced at Rs 100,000 ($2,500) was scheduled to roll out in October during the festive season in India.

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