Kolkata: West Bengal’s chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said on Tuesday that his government had worked out a new compensation package for Singur’s marginal farmers who were forced to sell land for Tata Motors Ltd’s small car factory.
Seeking consensus: West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. Photograph: Indranil Bhoumik / Mint
“I am trying in my own way to maintain contact with the opposition… I believe we should reach a consensus. But it (the solution) has to be realistic, must be legal,” Bhattacharjee said at a meeting organized by industry lobby Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, or Assocham.
On Monday, Bhattacharjee had written to Mamata Banerjee, the chairperson of the state’s principal opposition party, Trinamool Congress, suggesting a dialogue. Banerjee, however, continues to insist that the government must return 400 acres to farmers from within the acquired project area.
“It is not possible, nor legal,” Bhattacharjee said, reiterating that the so-called vendor park, where parts would be manufactured for the small car, couldn’t be carved out of the project. “Almost 55 factories (ancillary units) have come up, 50% of them have started construction work. Returning 400 acres would mean scrapping the project.”
Meanwhile, at Singur, very few workers turned up at the factory on Tuesday, and almost no work has been done in the past two days. The highway, on which the Tata Motors factory is located, remains blocked from both ends by Trinamool Congress workers. Tata Motors has been racing against time to launch the Nano — the Rs1 lakh car — in October, and its chairman Ratan Tata had on Friday said his company would pull out of West Bengal, despite investing Rs1,500 crore, if the situation at Singur didn’t improve.
Meanwhile, Trinamool’s Banerjee threatened to intensify the agitation by blocking roads across the state on Friday.