No question of Tatas’ small car plant going elsewhere, he says
KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Saturday expressed optimism that the Tata Motors project at Singur would fructify and the Nano would roll out in time.
Talking to journalists after an urgent meeting of the Left Front, the Chief Minister said: “There is no question of the project going elsewhere. About 85 per cent of the construction is complete and ancillary work is beginning.”
The meeting was called in view of the statements by Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata that the project would be pulled out from Singur, if the violence continued. He said it was not possible to open or operate a project with police protection.
Mr. Bhattacharjee said he shared Mr. Tata’s concern but he would urge him to stay on in West Bengal. “We want the project to grow here,” Mr. Bhattacharjee said, responding to queries on various Chief Ministers inviting the Tatas to locate the small car project in their States.
Mr. Bhattacharjee held a closed-door meeting with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee when he had gone to receive the President at the airport. However, there was no briefing on what transpired at the meeting.
The Chief Minister said the government was ready to discuss rehabilitation proposals for those who had given their land for the project, but it would have to be a practical one and as per current laws.
There was no hide and seek about the deal. Everything had been discussed in the Assembly. Referring to the Trinamool Congress’ plan to launch an indefinite sit-in agitation at various points on the project site from Sunday, Mr. Bhattacharjee urged the party to keep the protest peaceful. “I hope no untoward incident takes place.”
Security has been tightened in Singur. Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee claimed that about two lakh people were expected to participate in the protest. She urged everyone to remain peaceful. Home Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty said the government would not do anything to block or disrupt the agitation or use force in any manner if the agitation remained peaceful. Pointing out that the CPI(M) also planned to hold a meeting at Singur on Sunday, he said special police arrangements were being made to cover both the meetings. “However, the process of negotiation was still on.”
Save Farmland Committee leader Becharam Manna said if the State government wanted fruitful discussions it should call a meeting with land return as the sole agenda. “Then we will tell them how to go about it.”
Ms. Banerjee told journalists at her residence that her party did not want any bloodshed. She said the sit-in agitation would continue until the demands were met.
It’s for Tatas to decide: Pranab
Mr. Mukherjee, speaking on board a special aircraft, said it was for the Tatas to decide where they wanted to set up their industry.
“It is for the individual industrialists to decide where they want to set up their industry,” the External Affairs Minister said when asked about Mr. Tata’s threat to pull out of Singur. The Congress had criticised the Left Front government for the controversy and alleged that the farmers had not been given adequate compensation.