KOLKATA,23 October: The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government has clarified that the 997-odd acres at Singur, originally meant for the Nano project, will be used for industrial purpose only. In a statement on Wednesday evening, the government said that regardless of the circumstances, “the land would be used for setting up of industries only. The state government is mulling all options and planning to take definite steps in order to set up industries.”
It reiterated that it had acquired land in Singur in step with the norms of the Land Acquisition Act. “The land was given to Tata Motors and several vendor companies, for setting up of the Nano factory and various auto component units. All the necessary infrastructural work was done in the mean time. The land was also converted to suit the industrial purpose. However, the project could not be completed due to disruption caused by a section of people.”
Following this, when specifically asked to Tata Motors, that whether it would cancel its Singur land lease agreement with the West Bengal government or retain it for more time; In response, the Tata Motors spokesperson said: “We will discuss the lease issue with the West Bengal government.” The state government had offered Singur land to Tata Motors on a 90-year lease.
Reacting to the development, Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee reiterated her old demand of returning land to unwilling Singur farmers. “The state government can go ahead with its plans of setting up of new industries in Singur land. But the 400 acres which a section of displaced farmers were “unwilling” to part with, should be returned at any cost.” She said that members of the Save Farmland Committee will resume their agitation in Singur after Diwali.
When contacted, commerce & industries secretary Sabyasachi Sen said: “The government wishes to send the message across that even if the Tatas decide to stay away from Singur, some sort of industry will definitely come up in the 997 acres. The state government already has some alternate plans — some light engineering or manufacturing units can set up their plants. If a number of small units are interested, there could also be some industrial park set up in the area.
With land being so scarce in the state, any industrial group would lap up the proposal.”
“We are no longer hopeful that the Tatas will return to Singur to set up any other project. Therefore, we would ideally want the land to be vacated at the earliest,” added a senior WBIDC official.