Kolkata: West Bengal government has rejected Trinamool Congress’ demand for return of 400 acres of Tata Motors’ Nano factory site to farmers. The government said that it entailed dropping plans to make the world’s cheapest car in the state.
Trinamool Congress cadres led by firebrand leader Mamata Banerjee have blockaded Tata Motors’ plant since 24 August demanding that ancillary units be set up in a new location and 400 acres earmarked for them returned to farmers who were allegedly forced to give up their property.
Addressing an interactive session with the industry chamber Assocham, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattarcharjee said: “I cannot afford to return the 400 acres. If that land has to be returned, Tata Motors project has to be dropped which I cannot allow to happen.” He further added that it was not ‘legally possible’ to return the land.
Describing recent protests at Singur as “unfortunate,” Bhattacharjee said that he was in constant touch with opposition leaders to ease the situation.
The government has already held a round of talks with the opposition leaders, but could not reach an agreement on ending protests, which prompted Tata Group chief Ratan Tata to threaten to take the Nano project elsewhere although the company has already invested Rs1,500 crore in the facility.
“I am not an egoist. We are ready to formulate a package for those affected by the project,” Bhatacharjee said. He also said that he was still optimistic about the project. “I still believe that Nano will roll out from the Singur plant in October,” he added.