Tatas to stay in Singur: Nirupam Sen

August 5th, 2008 - 11:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 5 (IANS) Rejecting all speculation, West Bengal Industry Minister Nirupam Sen Tuesday said the state government has not received any intimation from Tata Motors on backing out from its project in Singur. “We have got no such information from Tata Motors that they want to roll back from the Singur project. The project work is almost nearing completion and I hope the Nano car will roll out from the factory on time,” Sen told reporters here.

Tata Motors is gearing up to roll out its dream small car in October. Nano, priced at Rs.100,000 or less than $2,500, is being manufactured at Singur, 40 km from here.

Tata Motors acquired 997.11 acres for the project from the state government. However, the project has been mired in controversy as farmers’ groups allege the state government acquired farmlands under durress.

Commenting on whether the state government would give back 400 acres to unwilling farmers, Sen said: “There is no question of giving land back. The state government has no extra land to return to the unwilling farmers in Singur. If we want to do that, we have to acquire fresh land from other areas and, in that case, the same problem may arise once again.”

A high-level meeting, attended by West Bengal Home Secretary Ashok Mohon Chakraborty, state police top brass and Tata Motors officials, was held in Singur Tuesday.

“During the meeting, Tata Motors officials said they are committed to the project. We discussed the security matters of the project site also. To ensure security to the workers at the factory, we will try to deploy more police personnel there. The Tatas are trying to strengthen the number of private security men,” Chakraborty told reporters after the meeting.

Expressing concern over fresh turmoil in Singur, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) patriarch Jyoti Basu said in a press statement that some opposition political forces were united in trying to hinder the industrial progress of the state.

The land acquisition for Tata Motors had triggered a violent face-off between the state government and farmers led by civil society groups and political parties like the Trinamool Congress.

Addressing a gathering here, Nobel laureate and noted economist Amartya Sen said if the Tatas leave West Bengal it would affect the state’s economy.

“The project is important to reduce the poverty level of West Bengal,” Sen said.

Criticising the CPI-M-led Left Front government’s industrial policy, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said: “If the state government does not return land, we will go on an indefinite agitation. The Singur movement will be carried out in a democratic manner and it will have an impact on the entire nation.”

Banerjee, who spearheaded the anti-land acquisition movement in Singur, went on a 26-day hunger strike in December 2006 for the cause of the farmers.

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