The people of West Bengal wanted the Tata Motors [Get Quote] small car project at Singur and the state government was hopeful about it, West Bengal Industry Minister Nirupam Sen said on Friday.
"You told me and I heard it. Now you decide," was the initial reaction of Sen when reporters asked him about Ratan Tata's statement that Tata Motors would pull out if the violence and agitation continued at Singur.
He said that the people of the state wanted the Nano car project and Tata also knew it.
The industry minister said the small car project could not come up if 400 acre was returned as demanded by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.
Sen, who had discussed the Singur project with Tata in Kolkata on Thursday night, said that the state government wanted to work out a solution and was was open for talks to find out an acceptable solution.
Appealing to Trinamool Congress, he said, "Let us work together and identify those families who might be facing hardship after losing their land at Singur. The state government is ready to provide them alternative livelihood."
"I also told the Tatas to come forward in this respect and they have agreed," the minister said.
Asked whether the state government could give the landlosers at Singur alternative land elsewhere, he said, "How can the government acquire somebody's land to give it to somebody else?"
Stating that the majority of farmers at Singur had accepted compensation, he said so far, 2,251 people at Singur had not taken compensation fully or partly and the total land owned by them was 305 acres.
On the other hand, 10,852 people, holding 691.66 acre, had accepted compensation.
Denying Trinamool's charge that the agreement between the state government and the Tata Motors was being concealed, he said he had clearly spelt it out in the assembly what concessions were given to Tata Motors.
Sen also clarified that once land was acquired for public purpose it could not be returned. The Calcutta high court had upheld the acquisition which had been challenged in the apex court. "If the Supreme Court said it was null and void, the unit would not come up."
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