Preliminary talks held to resolve Singur impasse

September 4th, 2008 - 2:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 4 (IANS) Preliminary talks were held Thursday between West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi and the representatives of the state’s ruling Left Front government ahead of Friday’s formal discussions on the Tata Motors’ Nano project at the Raj Bhavan here.Later in the day, Gandhi is slated to chair another meeting with the opposition Trinamool Congress-led Krishijami Jiban Jibika Raksha Committee (KJJRC) to prepare a blueprint for the final talks.

“The meeting has been called to discuss the Singur land row with the governor, before participating in the formal talks Friday,” senior Trinamool Congress leader Madan Mitra told IANS.

According to sources, a team of state government representatives including state Industry Minister Nirupam Sen, Chief Secretary Amit Kiran Deb and commerce and industry department principal secretary Sabyasachi Sen participated in the dialogue with the governor at his official residence Thursday morning.

With Gandhi playing the mediator, the state government and the KJJRC decided to sit for discussions Friday to find a solution to the vexed Singur issue after the Tatas suspended work at the Singur factory and threatened to shift base to a location outside the state for producing the world’s cheapest car Nano.

Despite initial reluctance, the ruling coalition and the Trinamool Congress later agreed to Gandhi’s proposals and requested him to don the mantle of the mediator himself.

The governor had earlier appealed to both the parties to seek the help of a mediator who has “no political or industrial affiliations” to resolve the matter.

“From our end, a five-member team led by Leader of the Opposition Partha Chattopadhyay will meet the governor today (Thursday),” Mitra said.

Apart from Chattopadhyay, Trinamool Congress leader and prominent lawyer Kalyan Banerjee, former bureaucrat and land reforms expert Debabrata Bandyopadhyay, Naxalite leader Purnendu Bose and Socialist Unity Centre of India leader Manik Mukherjee would represent the opposition. The same team would hold the formal talks Friday.

The KJJRC, which is spearheading the farmer’s protest in Singur, had called for an indefinite siege close to the Nano factory site from Aug 24.

The protesters are demanding the return of 400 acres of land which they alleged was forcibly taken from “unwilling farmers” to build ancillary industries adjacent to the Tata Motors’ main plant.

A total of 997.11 acres was acquired for the Tata Motors small car project in Singur.

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