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We will not sit on Singur land: Ratan Tata

West Bengal Industry Minister Nirupam Sen (left) and Tata group chairman Ratan Tata on their way to a press meet in Kolkata on Tuesday.

West Bengal Industry Minister Nirupam Sen (left) and Tata group chairman Ratan Tata on their way to a press meet in Kolkata on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: AFP

Our Special Correspondent

“But we would like to be compensated for our investment”; government acquired 997 acres

KOLKATA: The Tata group will not sit on the Singur land should any project come up on it, but the company will seek compensation for its investment, chairman Ratan Tata said on Tuesday. He reiterated that the Tatas were not moving their investments out of West Bengal.

“West Bengal remains in our heart and whatever has happened is not a major issue in the life of a corporation, ” he said talking to journalists after the annual general meeting of Tata Tea Ltd., and a meeting with Industry Minister Nirupam Sen here.

“We will not sit on the land, our intention is not to stand in the way of any development that can take place on the land, which makes sense to us and the State government — we have no project — but we will not stand in the way if another project comes up there — we will cooperate to facilitate any project.”

However, “we have left behind investment and obviously we would like to be compensated if we hand the land back.” Mr. Tata declined to quantify the compensation.

The State government acquired 997 acres of land for the mother plant of the Nano car project. The company withdrew in October 2008, in wake of violent protests by the Trinamool Congress.

‘All investments on track’

While admitting that the company had “an unfortunate experience in Singur,” Mr. Tata said all other investments of the group were on track.

With Mr. Sen on his side, he said there were illusions that the Tatas were moving out of West Bengal. But “I would like to reassure that that is not the case. There were rumours that the cancer hospital was being aborted — that is not true.” It would be inaugurated by March 2010.

He said 50 per cent of the beds in the upcoming hospital in New Town at Rajarhat would be free for people who lacked funds.

Many people came to Mumbai for treatment, but often, it was too late. With this hospital, “we hope to save some lives,” Mr. Tata said.

The hospital would have a research unit. “The research facility will be among the best in the city and the Tatas hoped to be able to bring back some of the doctors who left the city for research elsewhere.”

Mr. Sen said that as the Singur land was acquired for an industry, the government would set up an industrial unit there.

He said discussions were held and Tata Motors would extend its help in finding an amicable solution. He said issues like lease renewal could be discussed later.

The Minister indicated that as of now, the State government had not received any concrete proposal for a project on the Singur land.

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