The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hope in CM letter

Calcutta, Dec. 27: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is expected to send a letter to Mamata Banerjee tomorrow to break the Singur impasse.

The letter, housing minister Goutam Deb said, is likely to contain suggestions the government hopes will convince Mamata to call off her fast. Over the past few days, Deb has been talking informally with Trinamul leaders to work out a solution.

Efforts by governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi, who met Mamata this evening, failed to evoke any response from the Trinamul leader.

Deb said: “The chief minister is most likely to send another letter tomorrow to the Trinamul chief. We are hopeful of a solution. We have to find one since a leader is on fast for so many days.

“Everybody, including the chief minister and Nirupam Sen (industries minister) as well as Jyotibabu (Basu), are working on the solution as none of them wants Mamata to continue her fast.”

Instrumental in acquiring agricultural land for the township at Rajarhat without trouble, Deb was pressed into action by the CPM. A section of the party leadership felt that “over-dependence on the bureaucracy and wrong handling of the anti-acquisition agitation had offered the Opposition political mileage”.

Some Trinamul leaders, such as Partha Chatterjee, who is also the leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, have been in touch with Deb since yesterday. “We are trying our best for an honourable settlement,” Chatterjee said.

Trinamul MP Dinesh Trivedi had called on Jyoti Basu seeking his intervention.

A Trinamul leader who is a part of the talks said: “We suggested that the chief minister agree in principle to suspend work on the portion of acquired land Mamata claims belongs to farmers who haven’t given consent. Mamata will end her fast on the basis of this assurance.”

A mechanism would be worked out to verify the claims of the government and the counter-claims of the Opposition about the number of unwilling farmers as early as possible, the leader said.

“The Tatas do not need all of the 997 acres at one go. We would not oppose transfer of the rest of the land to them.”

Trinamul leaders said Mamata had dropped the demand for shifting the project elsewhere as well as climbed down from her insistence that the chief minister “agree to give back the land of unwilling farmers”.

But they’re still not sure if, once a solution is worked out, Mamata will accept it.

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