The first meeting between representatives of the state government and Trinamool Congress on Friday to resolve the impasse over the Nano plant at Singur ended with the former offering a compromise formula.
Against the 400 acres Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee wants returned to farmers who’d been unwilling to sell their lands, the government declared its willingness to return 47 acres outright, sources who attended the meeting revealed. It also agreed to provide each such farmer five per cent of the land acquired from him, provided the plot was used for commercial activity, not farming. Mamata, who didn’t attend the meeting, is said to be considering the proposal and will take a decision before talks resume on Saturday.
Five-member delegations from both sides attended the meeting, which frequently reached the point of breakdown. It was only the influence of Governor Gopal Gandhi, who’d agreed to act as mediator, that kept the talks going. The meeting began more than six hours later, as the government sent word that Trinamool workers should first clear the blocked highway at Singur. Mamata refused, but after much persuasion, the talks began anyway.
The first 47 acres will be the entire area the Tatas had intended to set aside anyway in their original plan for resettlement and rehabilitation for displaced families. The remaining land will be culled out of the area earmarked for the 55 ancillary units. “The meeting was free and frank. I expect a favourable outcome,” said industries minister Nirupam Sen.