Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Hindu

Bid to set fire to Singur fence
Special Correspondent
Third such attempt since construction began
Search on for perpetrators

Kolkata: Yet another attempt was made by some persons in the early hours of Thursday to set ablaze a few of the wooden poles of the wire fence which cordons off the site where an automobile plant is being set up by Tata Motors at Singur in West Bengal's Hooghly district.
The services of a city-based private security agency have been requisitioned to assist the police force deployed at the construction site, the State's Director, Industries, M.V. Rao, told The Hindu from Singur. About 70 persons belonging to the agency will be supervising the activity of 700 volunteers drawn from local villages who are guarding the site where the compound wall with a perimeter of 14 km is being currently constructed, he said.
Those trying to set the poles on fire were chased away by the police. There was no damage to the fence, sources said.
This was the third such attempt since construction work began at the site on January 21.
The police force deployed at the site area has been strengthened and a search is on to apprehend those responsible for such incidents. The Trinamool Congress, which is spearheading the agitation against the setting up of the plant, has accused the police of excesses in their attempt to apprehend the culprits. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC are in force in the area.
"Piling work for the development of the site and the laying of internal roads is under way," Mr. Rao said. He expressed satisfaction at the progress of the construction. "Work is on even at night," he said. Nearly 400 persons are engaged at the site.
The entire construction work at the project site should be completed by March 2008 and it is expected that the first cars from the manufacturing plant would be rolling out of the factory around October 2008, Mr. Rao said.

Mamata's accusation

Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, who is yet to formally respond to repeated invitations from Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee for talks on issues related to the Singur project, had earlier accused the State Government of betraying its assurance for talks by allowing construction work to begin at the site even as she remains confined to her residence where she is convalescing. Ms. Banerjee had been brought back home last week from a city nursing home where she had been admitted on breaking her 25-day hunger strike called in protest against the alleged forcible acquisition of farmland for the car plant.

Singur: bid to set fire to fence
Special Correspondent

Work on to build compound wall
No damage caused to fence
Miscreants escape after being challenged

KOLKATA: An attempt was made by some persons in the early hours of Tuesday to set on fire a portion of the wire fencing at the site in Singur, where construction work for the car manufacturing plant of Tata Motors is in progress.
The miscreants hurled bombs and fled under the cover of darkness when challenged by policemen. No damage was caused to the fence, Inspector General of the Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia told The Hindu .
A group of persons had made a similar attempt on Sunday, a few hours after the commencement of construction work, and damaged a portion of the fence.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 Cr.P.C. are in force in the area. Construction work is on amid a heavy deployment of policemen.
"Such incidents will not affect the progress of construction work at the site and will have no impact on the morale of the workers, who all belong to the area," the State's Director, Industries, M.V. Rao, said. " Local villagers are being engaged at the site, and there is no problem."
Asked whether such incidents could affect work at the site, M.B. Paralkar, senior general manager (Corporate Human Resources and Corporate Social Responsibility), Tata Motors, said from Mumbai: "The fact is that work is in progress. ... It is moving according to plan." He said the required security had been provided.
Presently, the work was confined to constructing a compound wall, which could take between six and seven weeks. Nearly 400 people were engaged at the site, according to Mr. Paralkar.