Govt waits for Mamata request

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Calcutta
  • Published 9.08.08
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Calcutta, Aug. 8: The Bengal government today said it would try to facilitate talks between Mamata Banerjee and the Tatas if the Trinamul Congress leader made a formal request.

“We have no problems if she wants to have a dialogue with the Tatas. But we haven’t heard from her officially or got anything in writing that she wants the state government to act as the facilitator for such talks.

“If she does that, we can always think over it and take a decision. Similarly, if the Trinamul leader formally urges us to talk to the Tatas, we can think about having a dialogue with them,’’ industries minister Nirupam Sen said in response to her comments yesterday that she was ready for talks with the Nano-makers.

Jyoti Basu also welcomed Mamata’s willingness to talk to the Tatas. “It’s good that she is interested in discussions. I have always said that she should join the talks and put forward her views”.

Recalling that Mamata had met him earlier with a proposal for alternative land where she felt ancillary units could be shifted, Basu said: “That is low land. So, it cannot be done. Let her join the discussions first. The chief minister is looking into all these things.”

Mamata said today that she had shown “political courtesy’’ by agreeing to have a dialogue with the Tatas. “Political courtesy demands that I should talk to the Tatas if they are willing. However, I maintain that 400 acres should be returned to unwilling farmers. Tomorrow, a rally will be organised in Singur.’’

Asked about Basu’s comment, Mamata said: “Speaking much on Jyotibabu would make him face the same consequences Somnath Chatterjee had suffered.”

Sen said the question of the government writing to the Tatas on its own did not arise. “We didn’t come up with the idea of a Tata-Mamata Banerjee meeting. So, how can we directly write to the Tatas? It is entirely a matter that rests with Tata Motors and the Trinamul leader. The state government cannot ask the Tatas what to do and what not to.”

“We are always eager to have talks with Trinamul if it desires so,” Sen said in response to a question.

Asked if the 400 acres would be returned, he said: “Returning land will mean asking the Tatas to leave. All these can be discussed only when discussions are held.”