Panel visits Nano site in Singur

September 10th, 2008 - 7:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 10 (IANS) The four-member team formed to study the contentious land acquisition issue visited Tata Motors’ Nano plant site in West Bengal’s Singur Wednesday to asses the vacant plots lying unused inside the project area.”We toured the entire project area and saw how many plots are lying unused there,” said Rabindranath Bhattachatjee, the Trinamool Congress legislator from Singur and member of the committee.

“We have already done a survey and preliminarily earmarked some vacant land inside the plant. We’ll discuss that with the state government representatives in the committee,” he told reporters in Singur.

Apart from Bhattacharjee, the committee comprises farmer leader Becharam Manna, West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) managing director Subrata Gupta and Hooghly district magistrate Nilam Meena.

The committee Tuesday also had a dialogue, for the first time, at the WBIDC office in Kolkata to settle the land dispute and the compensation package for the Singur farmers.

During the meeting, the farmers’ representative also demanded about 300 acres inside the project area from the state government.

Asked what would be their stand if the state government declines to provide maximum land inside Nano plant, Bhattacharjee said: “It’ll be very difficult to resolve the land issue if both parties remain rigid in their stand.”

He said the committee would hold a meeting after taking stock of the situation.

A total of 997.11 acres was acquired for the Nano project, of which the government claims 691.66 acres belonged to farmers who gave their land willingly.

The Trinamool Congress-backed farmers’ body Krishijami Jiban Jibika Raksha Committee (KJJRC) had opposed the takeover of farmland and demanded return of 400 acres of land which they alleged was forcibly taken from “unwilling farmers” to build ancillary industries adjacent to Tata Motors’ mother unit.

Their agitation put a question mark on the future of the project and Tata Motors last week stopped work at the site. However, Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi mediated talks between Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee led to a compromise pact which included setting up the four-member committe.

Two years ago, Tata Motors started setting up the unit at Singur, 40 km from here, for the world’s cheapest car Nano, priced at Rs.100,000 ($2,500).

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