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Takeover for Tatas on course

Calcutta, June 5: The Hooghly administration will declare by June-end the exact areas to be acquired for the Tatas' small-car project at Singur.

The list detailing the plots to be taken over from farmers is now under preparation.

The Tatas want 1,000 acres at Singur, 45 km from Calcutta.

A senior official of the district administration said the tentative deadline was fixed following instructions from Writers' Buildings.

The government, he added, wants the work for land acquisition to be completed without 'further delay' as hiccups in the process would send wrong signals to investors. 'We are trying to complete the land identification process with the deadline in mind because the state administration bosses want us to do so.'

Spread across five mouzas and 1,056 acres, 20 per cent of the land so far selected is multi-crop. Half of it is mono-crop and the remaining 30 per cent fallow land or water bodies, said CPM zonal committee secretary Suhrid Dutta.

The party peasant wing's drive to persuade farmers to part with their land in lieu of a 'good compensation' has made the administration's task easier, a district official said.

Balai Sapui, a local leader of the Krishak Sabha, confirmed that the 'groundwork for the acquisition is under way'.

Hooghly CPM secretariat member Asit Patra went a step further, saying the deadline was well within reach as farmers have already pledged to give away about 800 acres. 'Our persuasion has yielded results. There may be some disgruntled people who are being backed by the Trinamul Congress, but that would not hamper land acquisition.'

Trinamul, whose leader Rabindranath Bhattacharya represents the area in the Assembly, still appears bent on stalling the land acquisition.

'We are going to resist the acquisition. Let the government go ahead with its drive to draw up the land list,' Bhattacharya said.

Led by Saugata Roy, who lost the Assembly polls this year, a Trinamul team is going to Singur on Wednesday. The team would report its experience to party chief Mamata Banerjee and then a convention would be organised at Singur.

The leaders of the Krishak Sabha said they would let the government choose the land for the Tatas. The dream car, priced at Rs 1 lakh, should roll out of the plant by 2008, Ratan Tata has said.

The factory and the ancillary units it is likely to spawn would provide around 10,000 jobs.

The state secretary of the Krishak Sabha, Samar Baora, said: 'Our job was to convince the farmers that their land was essential for the Rs 1,000-crore project. We've been able to do that and they are voluntarily offering their land. Now we expect the government to acquire it as fast as possible. The district administration should not delay the process.'

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