Kolkata: The first round of talks between the West Bengal government and the Trinamool Congress, the state’s principal opposition party, on the Singur impasse ended inconclusively but the two parties have agreed to engage in further discussion.
After a two-hour meeting at the Writers Buildings – the state secretariat – on Wednesday, Trinamool Congress leader Partho Chatterjee said his party would not budge from its demand for return of 400 acres to those farmers who were unwilling to sell their land for Tata Motors’ small car factory in Singur. “We will go ahead with our sit-in demonstration (in Singur) starting 24 August,” Chatterjee said before leaving the Writers Buildings.
West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at a meeting with Leader of the Opposition Partha Chatterjee to discuss the Singur crisis in Kolkata on Wednesday. Photograph: Ashok Bhaumik / PTI
The state’s commerce and industries minister Nirupam Sen said the government had explained why it was impossible to return 400 acres of land. The government had acquired 1,006 acres for the factory almost two years ago.
“Trinamool says it can illustrate how it could be done without disturbing the project. We have asked them to put forth their suggestions. We will soon meet them again,” Sen said.
Asked if the sit-in demonstration could disrupt construction of the small car factory and the ancillary units, Sen said that chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had appealed to the Trinamool Congress to rethink its decision, and the government was hopeful that the party would put it off, at least for the time being.
Though it was expected that the commerce and industries minister alone would meet the opposition leaders, the chief minister too took part in the discussion, which the government later described as “constructive”.