Kolkata Bureau

Ratan Tata has written to CM expressing willingness to hold talks

“All I am concerned about is the scope of employment for youth”

“People’s willingness will decide industrialisation process”

KOLKATA: “We are trying our best to convince Tata Motors not to pull out of the State, but if the violence by the Trinamool Congress continues in its present form, the company may leave soon,” West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said on Saturday.

He had received a letter, earlier in the day, from Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group, expressing a willingness to hold talks with him, Mr. Bhattacharjee said, addressing the 13th All-India Conference of the Students’ Federation of India, student wing of the CPI(Marxist) here. “The Trinamool Congress will be solely responsible if the Tata Motors decide to pullout from the Singur small car project and it will be a betrayal on the part of the Opposition to the people of West Bengal.”

The Chief Minister’s remarks came a day after Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee threatened to resume the party’s agitation at the Singur project site if the agreement reached between the government and the Opposition on September 7 was not made operational immediately.

“I am not concerned about the name of the company or the price of the cars they will manufacture, all that I am concerned about is the scope of employment for youth and the change in the economy of the State that such projects will usher in,” Mr. Bhattacharjee said.

“It is the willingness of the people of the State, and not any Trinamool Congress resistance, which will decide the fate of the State’s industrialisation process.”

Ms. Banerjee is demanding return of 300 acres of land from within the project site to farmers who have not taken compensation for their plots acquired.

Work has been suspended at the project site for nearly a month.

On Friday, the corridors of power were agog with rumours of a meeting between the Tata Motors top brass and Mr. Bhattacharjee on Sunday and that senior company officials were also in preparedness. However, the meeting was called off late in the night. It was learnt that the meeting was postponed.

Major component manufacturers (51 in all) have said they are awaiting a communication from the Tata Motors before they take any decision. Some of the smaller component manufacturers pulled out their equipment on safety and security grounds. Construction contractors are moving their equipment out of the project site.

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