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Mamata seeks Singur clarity

Calcutta, Aug. 1: Mamata Banerjee has asked the govern-ment to come out with a “clear-cut” policy before inviting the Opposition to talks on Singur, scoffing at industries minister Nirupam Sen’s suggestion that everything except return of land could be discussed.

“I am least bothered about what an insignificant CPM leader (referring to Sen) is talking about. The government should come out with a clear-cut policy before inviting the Opposition to talks. Shall I go there (negotiating table) to hear stories from Thakurmar Jhuli (a book of Bengali fables)?” she asked.

The Trinamul leader did not spell out what she meant by “clear-cut” policy as the government had been saying unequivocally that land could not be returned.

“I shall see to it that the land forcibly acquired for the small-car plant is returned,” the Trinamul Congress chief told a news conference.

A Save Farmland Committee meeting on Sunday will discuss strategy for the launch of a “continuous” movement at the Tata Motors project site.

Sen had yesterday urged Mamata to come for talks and promised that the government would consider raising the compensation for landlosers, but he ruled out returning a part of the land. “If the land is returned to those who have not taken compensation yet, the project has to be scrapped. We are ready to discuss everything else.”

Asked if she thought the government would again promulgate prohibitory orders at the project site, Mamata said: “The CPM was routed in the rural polls in Singur. They will face the consequences if they (the CPM) again try to throttle our democratic movement.”

Trinamul sources said Mamata had asked party functionaries to be prepared to camp in Singur for days after August 20.

Keen to keep Mamata in good humour, state Congress president Priya Ranjan Das Munshi accused the CPM of going back on its promise. “The CPM had promised Mamata to look into her demands when she sat on a fast (in December 2006) demanding the return of the forcibly-acquired land. Today’s trouble is because of its failure to keep its promises.”

In Singur, the CPM labour arm is gearing up to launch a counter-movement highlighting “the terror unleashed by the Save Farmland Committee”. At a gate meeting, Citu leaders said they would not allow “unrest” at the project site.

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