Thursday, May 22, 2008

TATA Nano and TMC win in Singur

Economic Times

Mamata says Tata bye-bye

KOLKATA: Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee is about to revive her duel with the Tatas over the Nano venture in Singur. In the afterglow of her party’s emphatic victory in all the zilla parishad seats in Singur, a visibly charged Trinamool Congress chief asserted on Wednesday: “It is high time the Tatas wind up their car project in Singur. People of Singur have given a clear verdict towards our fight against the forcible land acquisition in Singur.”

When contacted, a Tata Motors spokesperson said: “We will offer no comments.”

Local Trinamool Congress leader Becharam Manna, who also won a gram panchayat seat from Singur, said: “The party would mobilise supporters against the Left Front government’s decision to allow the Tatas to set up their factory on land which was acquired forcibly”.

Singur is now an absolute Trinamool Congress bastion as the assembly constituency belongs to the party and after Wednesday’s poll results, all three seats in the zilla parishad from Singur were won by it. There is no doubt that the ruling CPM is on the threshold of another Trinamool backlash that could come in the way of the scheduled November rollout of the Tata Nano from Singur.

CPM central committee member Benoy Konar, was, however, optimistic that Trinamool Congress would not oppose the Tata Nano project. “Have you seen the election manifesto of the Trinamool Congress? In their manifesto, Mamata has said she wants at least one SEZ in all West Bengal districts. How can she oppose an industrial project and demand for at least one SEZ in all the districts at the same time?,” wondered Mr Konar.


In the recently concluded panchayat polls in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress has won complete control over Singur, the site of the Nano plant.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee now wants Tata to return 400 acres of land to farmers, who had allegedly been forced to give up their land. The West Bengal government is stunned.

Ratan Tata unveiled the Nano prototype on January 10. On that day, he had laughingly said that one of names suggested for the car was Mamata. Now Mamata Banerjee has stopped just short of serving an ultimatum to the industrialist.

''We are not against any individual industrialist. But he is behaving just like a party card holder. He should take a lesson,'' said Mamata Banerjee.

When asked as to what she wanted Ratan Tata to do, Mamata said, ''He should return the land - about 400 acres - to farmers who have not yet given their land.''

Mamata's demand follows her party's victory at Singur in the panchayat polls, seen by some as a referendum on Buddhadeb Bhattacharya's industry policy. Despite negative results, the government has said that there won't be any rollback on industry but has hoped that good sense wins at Singur.

''I think this is an impossible demand. I think the people of the area will also realise it that it will actually help the people of the locality. I think the people who have been elected, are also responsible people,'' said Industry Minister Nirupam Sen.

The Nano is expected to roll out of Singur during the Durga Pujas in October. But Mamata Banerjee's poser to Ratan Tata may just throw a spanner in the works.

The Statesman

Krishi Jomi to stall Singur plant work

Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, May 22: After getting an overwhelming response from the people of Singur in Panchayat election, Trinamul Congress-led Singur Krishi Jomi Raksha Committee (SKJRC) have decided to disrupt construction work at the Singur small car project area from Sunday.
Stating this, Mr Becharam Manna, SKJRC convener, said: “We will first request the construction labourers not to carry on with work at the site. If they refuse to do so, they will not be allowed to enter the project area.” The decision to “stall the the work on the project “ has been taken at a meeting late last night, he added. “Labourers from other districts, who are carrying out construction work at the site, have been requested to leave the project area by Sunday. We have got the mandate from people that plots had been forcibly taken from the farmers, said Mr Mr Manna who clinched a panchayat samiti seat from Singur defeating CPI-M contestant by a huge margin.
Mr Dibakar Das, CPI-M Hooghly district committee member, alleged that some “unruly” Trinamul Congress supporters have chased away a section of labourers from the project area last night after the poll results were declared. “We have requested officer-in-charge of Singur police station to strengthen the security in the project area. Because more than 25 per cent of policemen had been withdrawn from the site ahead of the elections, we apprehend a fresh attack on the factory's boundary wall.” Senior police officers, however, refused comment on the matter.