Special Correspondent

  • Third such attempt since construction began
  • Search on for perpetrators

    Kolkata: Yet another attempt was made by some persons in the early hours of Thursday to set ablaze a few of the wooden poles of the wire fence which cordons off the site where an automobile plant is being set up by Tata Motors at Singur in West Bengal's Hooghly district.

    The services of a city-based private security agency have been requisitioned to assist the police force deployed at the construction site, the State's Director, Industries, M.V. Rao, told The Hindu from Singur. About 70 persons belonging to the agency will be supervising the activity of 700 volunteers drawn from local villages who are guarding the site where the compound wall with a perimeter of 14 km is being currently constructed, he said.

    Those trying to set the poles on fire were chased away by the police. There was no damage to the fence, sources said.

    This was the third such attempt since construction work began at the site on January 21.

    The police force deployed at the site area has been strengthened and a search is on to apprehend those responsible for such incidents. The Trinamool Congress, which is spearheading the agitation against the setting up of the plant, has accused the police of excesses in their attempt to apprehend the culprits. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC are in force in the area.

    "Piling work for the development of the site and the laying of internal roads is under way," Mr. Rao said. He expressed satisfaction at the progress of the construction. "Work is on even at night," he said. Nearly 400 persons are engaged at the site.

    The entire construction work at the project site should be completed by March 2008 and it is expected that the first cars from the manufacturing plant would be rolling out of the factory around October 2008, Mr. Rao said.

    Mamata's accusation

    Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, who is yet to formally respond to repeated invitations from Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee for talks on issues related to the Singur project, had earlier accused the State Government of betraying its assurance for talks by allowing construction work to begin at the site even as she remains confined to her residence where she is convalescing. Ms. Banerjee had been brought back home last week from a city nursing home where she had been admitted on breaking her 25-day hunger strike called in protest against the alleged forcible acquisition of farmland for the car plant.

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