West Bengal ‘proposals’ on table to resolve Nano impasse

September 12th, 2008 - 8:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 12 (IANS) The West Bengal government Friday made “some proposals” to resolve the Nano land acquisition controversy through its representative on the four-member panel formed for this purpose.”The government has made some proposals, which we will communicate to our party chief (Mamata Banerjee) and then she will decide further course of action,” said committee member and Singur legislator Rabindranath Bhattacharya of the Trinamool Congress.

He refused to spell out the proposal details.

“We are just messengers. Everything will be decided by our party chief,” Bhattacharya said.

The proposals were conveyed through panel member Subrata Gupta, who is also the managing director of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corp (WBIDC), the government agency entrusted with bringing investment into the state.

Nilam Meena, district magistrate of Hooghly under which Singur falls, and farmer leader Becharam Manna are the other panel members.

“The situation has improved (between the two panelists) since the meetings started. We have given some proposals to the opposition party members. Tatas have given some feedback to the government and we are discussing those with the opposition,” said Gupta after a two-hour meeting of the committee.

The committee visited the plant site in Singur, about 40 km from here, Wednesday to asses the plots as yet lying unused in the project area.

The panel was formed Sunday and was asked to submit a report within a week.

Asked whether there will be a meeting Saturday, Bhattacharya said, “Keeping in mind that we have to submit the report within a week, there might be a meeting Saturday.”

A farmers’ group backed by the Trinamool Congress has demanded the return of 400 acres of land which they allege was forcibly taken from villagers to build ancillary industries adjacent to the Nano project’s mother unit.

Their agitation put a question mark on the future of the project and Tata Motors last week suspended work at the site.

However, Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi mediated talks between Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee that led to a compromise which included setting up of the four-member committee to study the vexed land issue.

Two years ago, Tata Motors started setting up the unit to produce the world’s cheapest car Nano, priced at Rs.100,000 ($2,250). The company has invested Rs. 15 billion in the project so far, its officials say.

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