With the fate of the small car project at Singur hanging in balance, people in Orissa's Ganjam district, displaced for Tata's shelved steel project near Gopalpur, have asked the company to shift its Nano unit there.
About 4060 acres of land were acquired for Tata's shore based Gopalpur steel project in 1995. Nearly 700 families of a dozen villages were displaced to make space for the proposed 2.5 million tones per annum steel plant in first phase which never came up.
The company then declared its plans to establish a galvanised plant and multi-product special economic zone in the land.
"There is neither land problem nor environment issues here. Therefore, Tata Motors [Get Quote] can start the plant within the stipulated time frame, when the local people extend cooperation to the company," the displaced people there said.
"The vast land is lying unutilised and the Tatas can come here to stabilise its low-cost car project," Ramesh Mahakuda, who was displaced from Badapur village, near Gopalpur said.
"We are planning to write a letter to the chairman of Tata group Ratan Tata to shift its Nano project here", Uma Shankar Sahu, another villager from Sindhigaon, said.
"We have vacated our lands for the steel project with a hope of developing the area and to get employment opportunities to our children," M Satya Narayan Reddy of Sindhigaon said.
"Now we hope they will give justice to us by shifting the Nano car project to Gopalpur," he added.
Earlier, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and state's Industry Minister Biswabhusan Harichandan had declared that the state would extend all cooperation and facilities to the automobile giant, if the Tatas evinced interest to set up its Nano car project in Orissa.
CPI MLA N Narayan Reddy, who had led the agitation against Tata Steel's [Get Quote] project at Gopalpur, said his party will not opposed the Nano project, if the company is willing to establish the cheap-car project in its acquired land. "We will not oppose, rather we will welcome it", he said.
The Tata Steel had signed a memorandum of understanding with the state government for establishment of shore-based steel plant at Gopalpur in August 1995. The state government had extended the period of the validity of MoU for at least three times and ultimately it had lost its force from August 29, 2001.
The Tatas have to sign a fresh MoU with the state government to utilise the land for any of its project.
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