Singur breathes easy, wants Nano plant to start operationSeptember 8th, 2008 - 10:06 pm ICT by IANS
Singur, Sep 8 (IANS) A few scattered bamboo structures, dumped tarpaulin, and trucks filled with decorators’ cloth for covering podiums were all that remained Monday at the the Tata Motors Nano project site here after days of sit-in protest by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.Ground zero breathed easy as protest podiums were dismantled after a solution to the Singur land row was reached between the ruling Left Front government and the opposition, which wanted 400 acres inside the factory site, acquired for the project from farmers, to be returned.
The fair-like atmosphere that permeated the area during the agitation was missing as the bamboo structures and 21 makeshift podiums were dismantled.
A number of roadside kiosk owners, who set up temporary stalls in the past two weeks on the Durgapur Expressway, also folded up their businesses following the withdrawal of the agitation.
But people did not seem to miss the excitement.
“Today’s a new morning for us. It’s a good sign that Trinamool has withdrawn its agitation and we all hope the work at the Nano unit will resume shortly,” Susanta Ghosh, an employee at Shanti Ceramic Pvt Ltd - a factory shed inside the Tata Motors project area - told IANS.
He said there was no fear of any type of agitation, adding: “Hopefully, work can now resume at the Tata facory.”
At the same time, Ghosh admitted the auto major’s decision to continue to suspend operations at the unit was “bad news”.
“It’s bad news for us, especially for the youth in Singur. We are simply swinging between hope and a state of despair,” Ghosh said.
Reacting to the outcome of the talks between the West Bengal government and the Trinamool Congress-led protesters, Tata Motors issued a statement Monday saying the company would continue suspension of work at its plant in Singur.
“Tata Motors Ltd is distressed at the limited clarity on the outcome of the discussions between the state government of West Bengal and the representatives of the agitators in Singur,” the statement said.
“In view of the same, Tata Motors is obliged to continue suspension of construction and commissioning work at the Nano plant,” it added.
“We are hopeful that the issue would be resolved and the factory would start operations very soon,” said Gautam Mandal, a villager of Beraberi near Singur.
Two years ago, Tata Motors started setting up the unit for the world’s least expensive car Nano, priced at Rs.100,000 ($2,500).
Since then, the project faced a stiff resistance from farmers, led by the state’s principal opposition party Trinamool Congress, who objected to the acquisition of farmland.
Tata Motors decided to suspend work at the factory after its workers were threatened by agitators during the 15-day-long siege that ended Monday.
An accord was reached between the state government and the opposition parties Sunday night after a series of meetings mediated by Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
As per the agreement, the state government will form a committee to look into the demands of the land losers, and submit its report in the next seven days.
“The construction of the ancillary units will be put on hold till then,” Gandhi, accompanied by Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, told reporters after the deal was agreed upon.