We are assessing situation, says Tata Motors after gherao of factory (Second Lead)

August 29th, 2008 - 5:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 29 (IANS) A day after an anti-land acquisition group prevented Tata Motors’ workers from leaving the Nano small car factory in Singur, the automobile major said workers had not attended work Friday and they were “assessing the situation”.”Our workers are not attending work today. We are assessing the situation as of now,” the global auto major Tata Motors said in a statement.

On Thursday, a Tata Motors source said: “The attendance of contractual labourers has fallen further. The constant decline in the attendance of contractual labourers, due to increasing threats to workers by the agitators, is having an affect on the deadlines of the project.”

Nano, the world’s cheapest car priced at Rs.100,000, is set to roll out from the Tata Motors’ stable in October. However, in view of the constant unrest the project has been facing over land acquisition by the opposition Trinamool Congress, Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata had last week warned that he may consider pulling out of the state.

The Krishijami Jiban Jibika Raksha Committee (KJJRC), backed by the Trinamool Congress, has been continuing an indefinite protest at the Nano factory site since Sunday demanding the return of 400 acres of land taken from “unwilling farmers” to set up ancillary industries.

“This agitation is affecting work in the ancillary units too,” Sandipan Chakravorty, managing director, Tata Ryerson Ltd and deputy chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), said on the sidelines of a seminar Friday.

Tata Ryerson is investing Rs.1 billion in the Singur project to supply components of Nano.

On Thursday evening, more than 600 engineers and executives of Tata Motors remained trapped for three hours inside the factory as the Paschimbanga Kshet Mazur Samiti (PKMS) activists, led by farmer leader Anuradha Talwar, squatted on the Durgapur Expressway near the gate leading to the factory.

Sources said water cannons and fire tenders were brought in to tackle any untoward incident at the project site.

“Adequate security personnel are there at the factory site and we are keeping a watch on the situation,” West Bengal Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia told IANS.

He said no additional forces had been deployed to control the law and order situation in Singur, about 40 km from here.

The PKMS has no formal links with the Trinamool Congress, but is a part of the movement in Singur.

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