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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Tata’s Singur remarks stir fresh political debate

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, December 17, 2012
First Published: 12:45 IST(17/12/2012) | Last Updated: 12:49 IST(17/12/2012)

Outgoing Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata's remarks over the Singur 'disappointment' have stirred fresh ripples in the political circles of West Bengal.

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The CPI(M), Congress and BJP attacked Trinamool Congress and the Bengal government on the same and said it was high time the Mamata Banerjee government reviews its land policy that totally rules out state role in land procurement for industry.

Trinamool Congress welcomed Tata Group in Bengal but affirmed they would stick to their stand on Singur that fresh industrial projects could only take shape in the area after the return of land to the 'unwilling' farmers.

Speaking to a news agency in Mumbai on Sunday, the veteran industrial tycoon said that although then Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was earnest about setting up the Nano factory at Singur, he decided to pull out since it was impossible to run a factory under police protection. He also said that the group could still consider investment in Bengal, provided the environment is congenial and free from hostility.

Reacting to Tata's comments, state Congress leader, Om Prakash Mishra said that it is high time that the state government reviews its land policy. "Unless the land policy is changed it would create major hindrances for big industries and everything would be stuck," said Mishra, strongly advocating an amicable out-of-court settlement for the legal battle between West Bengal government and Tata Motors' over the Singur land.

CPI(M) central committee member Mohammad Selim too demanded a review of the land policy and said that present policy neither favours industry nor agriculture.

"For the present government, land is just a medium to remain afloat in the political wave. For the present government land just medium of politics, which is neither benefiting industry nor agriculture. So that the land policy must be reviewed immediately for the sake of overall development of West Bengal," Selim said.

Trinamool Lok Sabha MP from Dum Dum Sougata Roy welcomed Tata Group to invest in West Bengal but said his party cannot compromise on its stated stand on Singur.

"We have nothing personal against Ratan Tata. We have fought for the farmers and will continue to do so. An industrialist of his stature should understand that no factory could be set up by ignoring the sentiments of the local population," he said.

"As for Singur, our stand remains the same. Let there be industry but only after returning land to the unwilling farmers," Roy added.

State BJP president Rahul Sinha alleged that CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress were equally responsible for driving out Tata Motors from Singur.

"The Left Front government deliberately allowed Trinamool to continue their devastating movement in anticipation that the votes of the unemployed people would come to them. And after the new government came, they engaged the Tata Motors in a prolonged legal tussle as opposed to settling matters out of court," Sinha said.

"And now even the so- called unwilling farmers at Singur are opposing Trinamool since the region has seen precious little in the way of development both in agriculture and industry. Hence, I feel the state government should review its land policy and try to go for an out-of-court settlement with Tata Motors," he added.


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