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Calcutta, Aug. 4: The Bengal CPM and industry have mounted what appears to be last-ditch efforts to prevent a Trinamul Congress siege from derailing the small-car project in Singur.

Capping a two-hour meeting at the CPM headquarters in Calcutta, party state secretary Biman Bose called on Jyoti Basu. The visit fuelled speculation that the party might request the patriarch to call Mamata for talks on Singur.

Basu had joined a similar peace effort earlier, which dealt with Singur also, but it did not make much headway. Mamata so far has spurned offers from the government for a dialogue. “We are always ready for talks but she didn’t listen to the chief minister,’’ CPM state secretariat member Benoy Konar said.

The party leadership also issued a statement asking “people from all walks of life to foil Trinamul’s anarchic agitation to derail the construction of the Tata Motors factory”.

The appeal carried echoes of last week’s statement by Tata Motors managing director Ravi Kant that “ultimately, the people of Bengal have to decide whether they want industrialisation”.

The statement issued by CPM state secretary Biman Bose also took care to reach out to the unemployed, saying that “particularly, we urge the youth to participate directly in implementing all efforts at job generation”.

CPM sources clarified that the appeal was not a call for “direct action” like the one issued by some leaders during the height of the Nandigram crisis and which is partly blamed for the setbacks in the rural polls.

Rather, the party seems to be preparing the ground to mobilise jobless youths and launch a political campaign in case Mamata’s agitation delays the car project or forces the Tatas to take drastic action.

“The party will launch a campaign to organise people against this disruptive politics. But we are watching Trinamul’s moves and will act as the situation demands,’’ Konar said.

The CPM meeting also discussed a proposal to increase compensation for “unwilling” land-losers but a section pointed out that those who volunteered to sell could then feel discriminated against and move court.

The sources said the party and the government had not yet decided whether to impose prohibitory orders to tackle the proposed siege from August 24.

The government appeared to be treading with caution. Asked whether plans had been drawn up to ensure work was not disrupted, industries secretary Sabyasachi Sen said: “The industries minister has already appealed to all to co-operate and help find a solution…. The Tatas are well aware of the political developments happening around the factory site. The government can only hope that peace prevails there.”

Industrialists are giving finishing touches to a joint appeal to keep the Singur project on track. The appeal is expected to be issued tomorrow if some points of differences are resolved by tonight.

This is the second time chambers of commerce in the city are lining up such a statement. The first was issued in December 2006 when Mamata had gone on a fast demanding the return of the land acquired in Singur and called a three-day bandh.

The draft of the new statement is expected to stress that the small-car project has received international attention and it could be the stepping stone for more projects and investments in the state.

Second, the Nano project will not only benefit big companies but it will also have a ripple effect on small industries. The draft will appeal to “all stakeholders” to sit together and sort out the problems for the good of the state.

However, a proposal to include the words “strikes and bandhs” while referring to the industrial climate of the state appears to have caused divisions among the chambers.

A reference to “strikes and bandhs” could be construed as criticism of the government, which looks the other way when Citu and other Left-backed unions enforce shutdowns. At least one chamber declined to endorse the draft till late this evening.

Seven chambers are expected to join the appeal.

 

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