| CPM supporters at Baghajatin Park. A Telegraph picture
Siliguri, Dec. 27: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today reiterated his government’s stand to remain rock-steady on the Singur issue.
The land controversy in Singur over the setting up of a Tata Motors factory gathered momentum in the past few weeks with the hunger strike of Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and the murder of Tapasi Malik, one of the protesters, near the site.
“If the Tatas now refuse to set up their automobile unit in Singur, we will not be able to continue with the industrial development drive,” Bhattacharjee said while addressing the crowd at Baghajatin Park here. He added that following the Tatas, a few entrepreneurs in the automobile sector have shown keenness in investing in the state.
Bhattacharjee said the Trinamul chief should think about the consequences that will follow if Ratan Tata turns his face away from Singur following her “unjustified” protest.
The chief minister also invited veteran Naxalite leader Kanu Sanyal to join him for an open discussion on the Singur issue. “Kanubabu said he hates to talk to me. I do not have any hatred for him and want him to consider the matter logically,” Bhattacharjee said. He added that despite being stronger than China in “intelligence and education”, India was still backward than “the country of 130 crore, which has set an unique example of development to the entire world”.
Bhattacharjee appealed to both Sanyal and Banerjee not to make Singur a political issue, but instead think in terms of economic growth.
State urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya’s recent demand for special concessional package for industries in north Bengal on the lines of Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh also earned the chief minister’s support. Bhattacharjee said he has discussed the issue with Union ministers Pranab Mukherjee and Priya Ranjan Das Munshi.
On the Sixth Schedule for the hills, the chief minister said the Union home secretary, V.K. Duggal, has told him that the process to place the bill in Parliament in the budget session is on.
Earlier, Bhattacharjee laid the foundation stone of the CPM’s new party office, Anil Biswas Bhavan, on Hill Cart Road here.