Singur to Tatas in days: CM - Promise to keep Ratan out of harm's way

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  • Published 30.12.06

Calcutta, Nov. 30: The mayhem in the Assembly this afternoon will not stop the Tata Motors project from going ahead in Singur, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has said.

“The land acquired will be handed over to Tata Motors within a few days,’’ the chief minister said, describing today’s incidents as the “violent expression of Trinamul Congress’s political frustration following isolation from people”.

“Nobody can stop the Tata Motors unit from coming up in Singur. It’s not local farmers but outsiders who are opposing us. The majority of people want the factory there.’’

Referring to Mamata Banerjee’s threat to Ratan Tata and his officials, Bhattacharjee said it’s “unfortunate”, but asserted that the government would ensure nobody harms them.

He said he had tried his best to persuade the Tata chief to set up the car plant in Kharagpur or some other place but the company insisted on Singur because of its proximity to the city and the infrastructure that it provided.

Denying any “secret deal with the Tatas”, as alleged by the Opposition, the chief minister said: “We are giving incentives to the Tatas as announced in our policy. We are acquiring land for them, as we will do for any other industry depending on the volume of investment, the importance of the project and its job-generating capacity.’’

“That’s why I am persuading Bhusan Steel to set up its plant in Purulia. Jindal’s unit will come up in Kharagpur and Lafarge in Mejia. Others, like Videocon, have been asked to go to Siliguri and Jalpaiguri. However, we have to acquire some agricultural land for the Barasat-Kukrahati road, which will connect Haldia with NH-34 as well as the airport,” he said.

The Trinamul’s real intention, Bhattacharjee alleged, is not to save farmland, but to stop industrialisation. He denied policemen had roughed up the Trinamul chief, saying she was “returned” to Calcutta — from her way to Singur — by an all-women police contingent.

The chief minister defended the decision to enforce section 144 in Singur. The order forbids all political rallies there “till the situation normalises”. The district administration, he said, had been apprehending trouble.