October 3, 2008

Hope for Singur project as Tata meets Bengal CM today

3 Oct 2008, 1039 hrs IST,TNN

KOLKATA: Will he or won’t he? None other than Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata has the answer to this month-long guessing game that has kept the government and ancillary units on tenterhooks since Tata Motors suspended operations at the Nano factory in Singur on September 2.
All eyes are now fixed on the one-on-one meeting between Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Tata, who is coming to Writers’ Buildings on Friday. Everyone is expecting a positive answer . Tata’s reply to the CM’s letter and his coming down to Kolkata have raised hopes both here and in Singur. “We want the factory to come up. An assurance from the Tatas would be the best Puja gift for us,” said Prodyut Das of Uttar Bajemelia village in Singur.
Even former India skipper and Tata employee Sourav Ganguly has written to his employer to stay on in Singur. On the eve of this crucial meeting, the chief minister had a talk with all members of the CPM state secretariat at Alimuddin Street to find ways to address Tata’s worries, especially his concern regarding the safety and security of his employees.
The CM has already written to the Tata Group chairman, promising all help, including security at the Nano plant. But more importantly, when he meets Tata on Friday, Bhattacharjee will also convey the feelings of the people at large, and a large section of the farmers in Singur who want the Nano factory to come up. The CM will request Tata to honour the people’s urge that has been expressed from time to time. Politicians have had their day.
From Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the CM and even rabble-rouser Mamata Banerjee, everyone wants the Tatas to stay in West Bengal. The PM has said there is still hope for a resolution and Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi said on Thursday that West Bengal “deserved a solution” to the Singur impasse. But none of them has been able to work out a tangible formula to make the industrialist stay as “a good corporate citizen of West Bengal”.
The political scene has not improved even after the chief minister called an all-party meeting. Mamata stayed away from it. And, Congress did a volte-face at the meeting when its representative Subrata Mukherjee endorsed Trinamool’s land-for-land demand and also wanted the Tatas to consider shifting the vendor park out of the Nano project compound. The Tatas — and the government — insist that the park is integral to the Nano plan. “Vendors took the land on lease as we did. They are part of the composite Nano plan. The plan has been so chalked out to keep the pricing low. They will employ large numbers of people. More investments will follow in terms of tier II, tier III segments,” Tata had said during his last visit to the city. He said he wouldn’t compromise with the “safety and security of Tata Motors employees, equipment and the viability of the project” and refused to resume operations under police protection.
Tata Motors officials have their own assessment of the Singur situation, an exercise they began after the ruling CPM was routed in the panchayat election in Singur. Since then, they are keeping a close watch on the daily developments without banking on government feedback alone.

October 3, 2008
Dear Mr R N Tata,

We welcome you in Kolkata.

Through the 1980s and 1990s our State has achieved significant successes in agricultural production and the development of its rural economy. This decade, we wished to extend that success to the industrial sector, with the firm belief that industrialization is essential for large scale employment generation.

We were happy when large industrial houses began showing interest in investing in the State and participating in the State's industrial resurgence. We were most delighted with your choice of West Bengal for locating the mother plant for manufacturing the highly innovative low-cost Nano. We believe that the automobile industry contributes not only to direct growth but also acts as a catalyst for several other sectors of manufacturing, supply chain and services.

At the initial stage, there have been some problems in acquiring land for the Nano plant. This is perhaps not unusual in our country. West Bengal's pressure on land makes the issue more acute. The democratic traditions of the people of the state also makes it imperative that no one, not even the minority, suffer from the acquisition and conversion of land use from agricultural to industrial. All affected people in the impacted communities have to be adequately compensated. We were relieved to note that the State Government is doing its best to overcome the innumerable hurdles while addressing the genuine concerns of the affected persons, including not only the owners of the land but all those whose livelihoods depended on it.

The motivation for this effort is the urgency with which all of us look forward to seeing this world-beating concept rolling out on the roads.

Unfortunately, over the last few months, in the name of upholding the interests of a section of the local population, some of our own people have been misguided to create a situation where your workers, officers and engineers may have been physically obstructed from carrying out their duties. We are deeply saddened to learn from media reports that, as a consequence, you are considering an option of relocating the factory to some other state.

Mr Tata, you are the best judge to decide which option is in the best interests of your company and its share-holders. However, we would request you to give due considerations to the very widespread sentiments in the State before you take a final decision.

We believe that the majority of our people are dismayed at the turn of events. The unfortunate incidents at the factory gate are quite irresponsible and without consideration for the larger good.

If the Nano mother plant is shifted from West Bengal due to these incidents, it will definitely cause immense harm to the long-term interests of the state.

The immediate losers will be the overwhelming majority of the land-owners who have voluntarily given their land and accepted the compensation, as also the countless many who have already got associated directly or indirectly with the project. We firmly believe that even the so-called "unwilling" farmers will suffer a great loss.

Moreover, such a step will send the very negative message to the entire country that in the name of upholding the interests of a section of land-losers, any developmental activity can be stalled by a group of people driven by narrow sectarian interests. We apprehend that any decision to relocate the Nano mother plant from Singur will encourage such people to continue and even spread their irresponsible activities.

The need of the hour is to create an environment where all political parties, the industry, the intelligentsia, workers and peasants can conduct a healthy debate towards formulating a comprehensive policy for land acquisition, agricultural or otherwise, for industrial development. Compensation packages have to ensure a better and equitable future for all those who are adversely impacted at the very beginning by the loss of land.

In view of your position and the prestige you enjoy as a leading industrialist of our country and one with a conscience, we hope you would give due consideration to our concerns and lend your weight to find a solution of the present impasse.

Thanking you,

With regards,

Yours sincerely,

1. Dr. Ramendra Kumar Poddar, Former V.C., Calcutta University
2. Prof. Rathindra Narayan Bassu, Former V.C., Calcutta University
3. Prof. Dipak Kumar Bagchi, Former V.C., Bidhan Ch. Krishi Viswavidyalaya
4. Prof. Pijush Kanti Saha, Former V.C., North Bengal University
5. Prof. Dilip K. Basu - Former V.C., Burdwan University
6. Prof. Amit Mallik - Former V.C., Burdwan University
7. Prof. Anandadeb Mukherjee - Former V.C. Vidyasagar University
8. Prof. P.N. Roy - Former Pro - V.C., Calcutta University
9. Shri B.K. Pal - Former Managing Director, WB Power Development Corp.
10. Shri Sailapati Gupta - Former Vice - Chairman, Hooghly River Bridge Corporation [HRBC]
11. Shri S.P. Ganchoudhury - Former Director, WB Renewable Energy Development Agency [WBREDA]

Indian Institute of Technology(IIT), Kharagpur:

12. Prof. T.K.Basu Head, Centre for Educational Technology, IIT Kharagpur
13. Prof. Navtej Singh Head Aeronautical Engg. , ,,
14. ,, Ajay Ray Head , School of Medical Science and Technology ,,
15. ,, Ajay Chakraborty Dean, Continuing Education Centre &
Head Electronics and Comm. Engg., IIT Kharagpur
16. ,, Tapas Bhattacharya Professor, Electrical Engg. ,,
17. ,, Gosaidas Ray ,, ,, ,,
18. ,, Alok Barua ,, ,, ,,
19. ,, Debapriya Das ,, ,, ,,
21. ,, Chandan Chakraborty Assoc. Prof. ,, ,,
22. ,, Shouvik Bhattacharya ,, Mechanical Engg. ,,
23. ,, B. Maiti ,, Chairman , GATE ,,
24 ,, Prof. Mahitosh Mandal Assoc. Prof., Sch. of Med. Sc.&Tech. ,,
25. Dr. Chandan Chakraborty Asst.Prof. ,, ,,
26. Dr. Shantanu Dhara ,, ,, ,,
27. Dr. Analabha Mitra ,, ,, ,,
28. Dr. Soumen Das ,, ,, ,,
29. Prof. Indranil Manna Professor Metallurgy &Material Sc. ,,
30. Prof. Prashanta Kr. Mahapatra Head, Physics Deptt. Vidyasagar Univ.
31. Prof.Dulal C. Jana, Professor, ,, ,, ,,
32. Dr. P.Sanyal Astt. Prof. Geology &Geophysics Deptt. IIT Kharagpur
33. Dr. Anindya Sarkar ,, ,, ,,
34. Prof. N.Dhang Assoc. Prof. Civil Engg. Deptt. ,,
35. Dr. Bhargab Mitra ,, ,, ,, ,,
36. Dr. Indrajit Dube Astt. Prof. Rajiv Gandhi School of IP Law ,,
37. Dr. Dipa Dube ,, ,, ,,
38.Dr. P.K.Bhowmik ,, Rural Dev. Centre ,,
39.Prof. P.K.Dutta, Vice-Chairman , JEE, & Prof. El.Engg . Dept. ,,
40 Prof. P.K. Das Professor Mechanical Engg. ,,

IIT Bombay :

41. Prof Kl Deb kd@hss.iitb.ac.in,
42. Prof A Chowdhury Arindam@chem.iitb.ac.in,
43. Prof A Dutta Anindya@chem.iitb.ac.in
44. Prof B Badyopadhyay bijnan@cc.iitb.ac.in,
45. Prof G G Ray ggray@iitb.ac.in,
46. Prof K K SenGupta kali@cc.iitb.ac.in,
47. Prof S Biswas sb@cse.iitb.ac.in,
48. Prof S Chaudhuri sc@ee.iitb.ac.in
49. Prof S K Maiti skmaiti@me.iitb.ac.in,
50. Prof S N Datta sndatta@chem.iitb.ac.in,
51. Prof K Subiddhi subuddhi@hss.iitb.ac.in,
Other institutions in Mumbai
53. Prof A Datta, D J Sanghvi College
54. Prof K S Ray, SNDT College
55. Prof A Ray, V G Vaze College,
56. Prof TMUKHOPADHYAY mukhopadhyay_tapati@rediffmail.com , Siddharth College
57. Prof P K Dasgupta pkd_1955@india.com , Siddharth College
58. Prof. Prashanta K. Mahapatra, HOD Physics, Vidyasagar Univ and
59. Prof. Dulal C. Jana, Professor Dept of Physics, Vidyasagar Univ
60. Prof. D. Das, Professor of Electrical Engg, IIT Kgp

Jadavpur University, Kolkata :

61. Manoj Kumar Mitra, Dean, Faculty of Engg. & Technology
62. Tapas Bhattacharya – Professor, Architecture
63. Somnath Ghosh – Professor, Civil Engg
64. Phalguni Bhattacharya - Professor, Civil Engg
65. Pinaki Bhattacharya - Professor, Chemical Engg
66. Nandini Mukherjee - Professor, Computer Science & Engg
67. Chandan Majumder - Professor, Computer Science & Engg
68. Ujjal Maulik - Professor, Computer Science & Engg
69. Keshab Bhattacharya - Professor, Electrical Engg
70. Samar Bhattacharya - Professor, Electrical Engg
71. Tapan Ghosal - Professor, Electrical Engg
72. Saswati Majumder - Professor, Electrical Engg
73. Sujit Biswas - Professor, Electrical Engg
74. Shibaji Chakraborty - Professor, Electrical Engg
75. Samir Saha - Professor, Mechanical Engg
76. Goutam Pohit - Professor, Mechanical Engg
77. Sankar Dhar - Professor, Mechanical Engg
78. Swarnendu Sen - Professor, Mechanical Engg
79. Siddhartha Mukherjee - Professor, Metallurgical Engg
80. Gopes Chandra Das - Professor, Metallurgical Engg
81. Prodyot Kumar Mitra - Professor, Metallurgical Engg
82. Amal Kumar Bandyopadhyay – Professor, Pharmaceutical Tech
83. Laksmi Kanta Ghosh - Professor, Pharmaceutical Tech
84. Hiranmoy Saha - Professor, Electronics & Tel. Comm Engg
85. Amitava Datta - Professor, Power Engg
86. Amitava Gupta - Professor, Power Engg
87. Niladri Chakraborty - Professor, Power Engg
88. Samiran Chattopadhyay - Professor, Information Tech
89. Subhas Bhattacharya – Dean, Faculty of Science
90. Nilanjana Gupta – Professor, English
91. Goutam Gupta – Professor, Economics
92. Parimal Debnath – Professor, Physical Education
93. Tridib Chakraborty – Professor, International Relations
94. Sanjay Mukhopadhyay – Professor, Film Studies
95. Partha Pratim Biswas – Professor, Construction Engg

University of Calcutta:

91. Dr. Gautam Ganguly, Head, Department of Physics
92. Dr. Anirban Kundu, Reader, Department of Physics
93. Prof. Uttam Bandyopadhyay, Dean, Faculty of Science
94. Prof. Bhaskar Chakrabarty, Department of History
95. Prof. Priyobrata Sarkar, Department of Polymer Science
96. Prof. Swapan Dutta, Department of Botany
97. Prof. P.K. Das Poddar, Department of Chemical Technology
98. Prof. Ajit Banik, Department of Chemical Engineering
99. Prof. Amal Bhattacharyya, Department of Chemistry
100. Prof. Shyamal Chakrabarty, Department of Chemistry
101. Prof. Pabitra Sarkar, Former V.C., Rabindra Bharati University

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