|Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee & Nirupam Sen: Shot in the arm
Calcutta, Oct. 13: The CPM state secretariat today endorsed chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and industries minister Nirupam Sen’s decision to lease out 997 acres in Singur to Tata Motors at a concessional rate.
The party also allowed the duo a free hand to complete “the bargaining and negotiations” with the Tatas on the land deal and other sops that the government is offering them to bag the small-car project.
Today’s meeting, to which the land minister was sum- moned, green-lighted the gov- ernment’s move to relax the rural land ceiling to provide land for manufacturing and agri-industries, apparently over-ruling an angry Abdur Rezzak Mollah.
“The government will not offer land to the Tatas free. I can’t tell you what we will get in exchange of what. Buddha and Nirupam are negotiating with them on the terms and conditions. I was told that the discussion is at its fag end. Let them complete it,’’ Jyoti Basu said after the meeting.
The party patriarch also said that issues relating to the deal with Tata Motors would be discussed in the Assembly. “The government will intro- duce relevant legal changes in the November session of the Assembly. Many questions would be raised at that time and you would get your answers.’’
The chief minister reiterated his resolve not only to host the car factory in Singur but also to provide land for other industrial projects.
“The Tata factory will certainly come up in Singur. We are trying our best to provide land to those who want to set up factories,” he said before leaving the party headquarters with Sen.
Bhattacharjee declined to speak on the talks with the Tatas. “I will tell you at a proper time,’’ he said, virtually endorsing Sen’s refusal to disclose the “trade secret”.
CPM state secretariat member Benoy Konar said Bhattacharjee and Sen explained in the meeting the “compulsions of competition” in wooing big-league investors and the “need to offer concessions to the Tatas to ensure long-term gains for the state”.
“The price of the Singur plot (being given to the Tatas) is yet to be finalised. Neither can the party secretariat decide that nor can Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Nirupam Sen be expected to consult it at every step,’’ Konar said.
The land reforms act would be amended to relax the rural land ceiling. “The definition of industry in the present law and list of industries entitled to such relaxation would be changed in keeping with the new possibilities.”
In a note to state party secretary Biman Bose, Mollah had opposed lowering of the rural land ceiling to pave the entry of corporate houses.