KOLKATA, 19 Mar 2009: West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee told the state Assembly on Thursday that the land lease agreement between WBIDC and Tata Motors for the 997 acres alloted in Singur had not yet been cancelled. But he also maintained that the state government is determined to use the Singur land for setting up a cluster of industrial units.
In response to issues raised in governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi’s inaugural address, Mr Bhattacharjee assured the House that his government was unwilling to deprive the people of Singur who had given land for the Tata Nano project. "Our government has received a host of proposals from both domestic and foreign investors who wish to set up their units in Singur. We are working on those proposals and will inform you about our plans after we take a final decision," the chief minister said.
Mr Bhattacharjee also claimed that "the Tatas were forced to quit Singur because of violent and destructive agitation by the irresponsible opposition party" in West Bengal. "Now attempts are being made to confuse the people on the utilisation of the land. Demands are also being made for return of the Singur land. This bit is certain that the land will not be returned as the character of the land has already changed and the land given to the Tatas cannot be used for agriculture. We will use the land for setting up new industry," Mr Bhattacharjee mentioned. "We don’t want to keep the Singur people in absolute darkness and we are very clear about the fact that land at Singur will be used for industrialisation," the chief minister said.
The chief minister also assured the House that his government would proceed with plans for setting up the proposed chemical hub at Nayachara. "Setting up the chemical hub at Nayachara is not our government’s proposal. The Centre had invited proposals from several states for setting up PCPIRs and we did not wish to miss the opportunity. The Cabinet in its last meeting had cleared the Nayachara chemical hub and we will proceed with this," the chief minister said.
Mr Bhattacharjee also said that he had thanked the external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee and chemicals and fertiliser minister Ramvilas Paswan for clearing the Nayachara chemical hub. Interestingly, the principal opposition party, Trinamool Congress had boycotted the chief minister’s reply to the debate on the governor’s address. Trinamool Congress has already announced that they will oppose the chemical hub at Nayachara.