No work at Nano plant, Trinamool leader meets governor (Intro Roundup)

September 1st, 2008 - 10:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 1 (IANS) Work remained suspended for the third day Monday at the Tata Motors’ Nano plant at Singur in West Bengal as the ruling Left Front again invited the Trinamool Congress for talks to resolve the impasse over land acquisition for the project.”The conditions in Singur are still not conducive for resuming work today (Monday). We are assessing the situation closely,” a Tata Motors spokesperson said in a statement.

Trinamool Congress leader Partha Chattopadhyay met Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi at the Raj Bhavan here. Chattopadhyay, however, declined to reveal to the media what was discussed.

According to political sources, Chattopadhyay handed over some papers to the governor and the latter promised to talk to the state government regarding the stalemate.

The governor had earlier urged Trinamool COngress chief Mamata Banerjee to come to the discussion table and seek the help of a mediator who did not have any “political or industrial affiliations” to resolve the stalemate. But his suggestion was turned down by both the Left Front and the Trinamool.

“We again invite Trinamool to participate in a dialogue. We want to solve the issue across the table,” state Left Front chairman Biman Bose told a rally here.

There has been no work at the Tata factory since Friday due to the indefinite siege led by the Trinamool Congress, which is demanding the return of 400 acres taken for the project from farmers ‘unwilling’ to part with their holdings.

Meanwhile, Videocon Group chairman Venugopal Dhoot Monday offered to mediate in the dispute by talking to the Tatas.

Dhoot, who met Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at the state secretariat Writers’ Buildings, told reporters he was willing to talk to the Tatas about Singur, if required.

“Tatas should also step in to settle the stalemate in Singur,” he added.

In a related development, the state government began a drive to clear the snarl-up caused by the agitation on the Durgapur Expressway - connecting Kolkata and Delhi - at the Nano site.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Hooghly district police superintendent Rajiv Mishra.

“We’ve started clearing the traffic congestion on Durgapur Expressway from Monday morning. We will try and clear the flank opposite the stretch on the expressway where Mamata Banerjee is staging her agitation,” Mishra told IANS.

“So far, neither the Trinamool Congress nor the villagers have offered any resistance. We hope vehicular movement on the expressway would be restored by Monday night,” he said.

The blockade on the 76-km-long Durgapur Expressway has hit supplies of essential commodities, including medicines, to Kolkata with hundreds of trucks stranded for days since Aug 24, when the protests began.

Hearing a petition by the transporters, the Calcutta High Court last week asked the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to ensure smooth passage of vehicles through the expressway.

NHAI officials Saturday met Trinamool leaders to clear the traffic bottleneck on the highway.

Swajan (Near Ones), a forum of city intellectuals, said they were also meeting Trinamool Congress leadership for a discussion and would try to explore a solution on the vexed issue.

More than 997 acres of land was acquired for the Tata small car project in West Bengal’s Singur - an hour’s drive from the state capital, of which 691.66 acres belonged to farmers who gave their land willingly.

Nano, which has made headlines the world over, is priced at Rs.1,00,000 (about $2,500). The car is scheduled to roll out from the Tata stable in October.

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