The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sen can’t trade Singur secret

Calcutta, Oct. 12: Citing “trade secret”, industry minister Nirupam Sen today said it was not possible for the government to make public the full details of the Singur land deal with the Tatas.

“There is an expression in the dictionary called trade secret,” he said at Writers’ Buildings.

Left Front partners and Opposition parties have been seeking details of the deal after the government announced that it had agreed to lease out 997 acres in Singur to the Tatas at concessional rates. The government is paying Rs 140 crore as compensation to farmers, but the company is not expected to cough up the full amount.

Sen today said the negotiations with the Tatas were yet to be completed.

Later, former chief minister Jyoti Basu asked: “What does trade secret mean' I don’t know.”

Basu said the CPM state secretariat would tomorrow discuss the “terms and conditions” of the deal regarding the price of land and incentives the government proposes to offer the company.

“I would like to know the details of the developments related to Tata Motors. I have never heard about this kind of land deal for any industry. We will discuss it in detail. I am not aware of the latest developments since I was out of town for four days,” Basu said.

“You may ask Buddha. But I heard he got angry,’’ Basu said, referring to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s response to reporters on the issue. “Don’t ask me such questions,” he had told reporters on Tuesday.

“The industry department had prepared a policy on the land acquisition and compensation packages for land-losers. Now I hear of new plans under a new committee headed by a person from the ISI that will prepare a map for the use of land in the state,” Basu said, referring to the newly-revived State Land Use Board headed by V.K. Ramchandran of the Indian Statistical Institute.

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