'I can't afford to return the 400 acres of land' | business | Hindustan Times
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'I can't afford to return the 400 acres of land'

West Bengal CM Buddhadeb has said he cannot afford to return the 400 acres to farmers. If that land has to be returned then Tata's project has to be dropped and he cannot allow that to happen.

business Updated: Aug 26, 2008 15:10 IST

West Bengal government on Tuesday ruled out returning 400 acres of the Tata Motors' Nano factory site to farmers, saying such a step would mean dropping all plans to manufacture the world's cheapest car in the state.

Return of land earmarked for ancillary units is the main demand of the state's opposition Trinamool Congress, which has laid a siege to the factory since August 24.

"I cannot afford to return the 400 acres. If that land has to be returned, (then) Tata Motors project has to be dropped. I cannot allow this to happen," West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee told an interactive session with industry chamber Assocham in Kolkata.

The chief minister also said that it was not "legally possible" to return the land.

Describing recent protests at Singur as "unfortunate," Bhattacharjee said that he was in constant touch with opposition leaders to ease the situation.

The government has already held one round of talks with TC leaders, but could not reach an agreement on ending protests, which prompted Tata Group chief Ratan Tata to threaten to take the Nano project elsewhere.

"I am not an egoist. We are ready to formulate a package for those affected by the project," he said.

The chief minister said he was still optimistic about the project. "I still believe that Nano will roll out from the Singur plant in October."