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Brand Bengal takes a beating as Tatas exit Singur
The Singur impasse is far from being over.
Just when it was almost certain that the Tatas were pulling out the Nano project, the West Bengal Cabinet assured help and cooperation to Tata Motors [Get Quote] and requested them to change their minds.
The West Bengal Cabinet said after a meeting on Thursday that though the Nano project was not on the agenda, it came up for discussion following requests by ministers.
Thereafter, it was unanimously decided that the Cabinet would appeal to the Tatas as well as to the Opposition for implementation of the project.
Appealing to the Tatas not to withdraw the project, it also urged the opposition parties to accept the rehabilitation package offered to land-losers in Singur and cooperate in the implementation of the project.
The ministers also appealed to the people of Singur and the state for their cooperation.
Tatas not willing?
Meanwhile, West Bengal Industry Minister Nirupam Sen told the state Cabinet on Thursday that the Tatas were not keen to implement the Nano project in Singur.
Sen said this when some Cabinet ministers sought to know about the status of the Tata project in Singur, PWD Minister Kshiti Goswami told reporters after the state Cabinet meeting.
He quoted Sen as saying that the Tatas did not want to continue work with security which indicated that the future of the Nano project in the state was 'dark'.
Tatas, however, appeared unmoved as a statement from the company said: "Tata Motors had been constrained to suspend the construction and commissioning work at the Nano plant in Singur in view of continued confrontation and agitation. The suspension continues."
"The company will make every effort to stay as close to the plan as is possible," it said, making it abundantly clear that initial production of the 'people's car' would be from a location outside West Bengal.
Sources on Wednesday said that equipment key to manufacturing Nano was carted out of the Singur plant, possibly to Pantnagar in Uttarakhand.
Uttarakhand chief secretary I K Pande, who met Tata Motors executives today on lease of the Pantnagar plant, said that Tatas had not yet made up their mind on manufacturing Nano from the company's facility in the state.
Governor backs farmers' interests
West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who was involved in mediation between Trinamool Congress Mamata Banerjee and the West Bengal government to break the Singur deadlock, came out in full support of the farming community on Wednesday.
Without mentioning Singur even once, his speech highlighted the farmers' interest.
Addressing a seminar on the 'Second Green Revolution', organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Gandhi said that the faming community had a mind of its own no less than its urban or industrial equivalents.
"We will, of course, have to think carefully of the location of industrial ventures, not turning to arable land before exhausting other options," he said.
One of the main contentions in Singur was that the land used for the Tata Motors' Rs 1 lakh car project was fertile and multi-crop.
It merits mention that the West Bengal government had to invoke the Land Acquisition Act in Singur when it did not receive consent from farmers accounting for more than 300 acres.
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