Staff Reporter

He was hinting at the land acquired by the company in Ganjam district for the shelved steel project

Displaced families feel Tatas should come to State

The company plans to utilise the acquired land to establish a galvanisation plant

BERHAMPUR: Bubbles of hope have floated in the minds of the people of Ganjam district with the Tata deciding to steer out its ‘Nano’ car project from Singur in West Bengal.

The Left activists of Ganjam district who had led the anti-displacement movement against the company during the last decade are also of the opinion that it is the duty of the company to shift its small car project to Orissa if it is not being taken up in Singur.

On Saturday Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to the Tata group chairman requesting him to consider Orissa as the destination for the ‘Nano’ project. He was hinting at the over 4,000 acres of land acquired by the company for its now shelved shore based mega steel project in Ganjam district to be utilised for the project. More than 700 families of over a dozen villages had been displaced for the steel project of Tata which never came up. As per the company they plan to utilise the acquired land to establish a galvanisation plant and a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

But the displaced families feel the Tata should come over with Nano project to Ganjam district as here it would not face problems related to land acquirement or environment, which would enable it to start its project within stipulated time. Some members of the displaced families have also written to the Tata company’s management with requests to establish the automobile project on the land they had sacrificed.

The CPI MLA of Chatrapur, N.Narayan Reddy who as the leader of the ‘Gana Sangram Samity’ had spearheaded the anti-displacement movement against Tata company in the district was also in favour of the ‘Nano’ project being taken up in the land taken over by the company. Speaking to The Hindu, he said “we would not oppose this decision of the company but would surely want all old land compensation matters settled down and employment opportunity for youths from the State with priority for the ones from displaced families”. Mr Reddy had also met the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik regarding the matter.

The State secretariat member of the CPI(M), Ali Kishore Patnaik was also of similar view. According to him if the company has decided to shift its project from West Bengal it was the duty of the company to come over to the State , whose resources it is using since 1907 without providing much in return.

Congress leader, Chittaranjan Dash felt the land under Tata near Gopalpur port would be the best site for Nano project if transportation factor is taken into consideration. The South Orissa Students’ Association (SOSA) has also demanded the Tata to establish its small car project in Ganjam district where it would not have to displace any one.

The hopes of the displaced families of Ganjam district are based on the shattered hopes of displaced families of Singur. It is to be seen whether the company shows any sense of obligation towards the displaced families or not, said Mr. Dash.