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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Nano a no-no for Mamata, but nano-science fine

Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, November 28, 2012
First Published: 08:29 IST(28/11/2012) | Last Updated: 23:05 IST(2/12/2012)

Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee may have opposed Tata's Nano factory in her state. But for nano-science, she is game.

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After a series of refusals to give land to big-ticket central projects, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool boss Mamata Banerjee will give huge tracts of land for India's first set-up for frontier research in nuclear physics.

On Monday, Banerjee agreed to provide as much as 100 acres to Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (SINP) for Indian Synchrotron for Materials and Energy Research (ISMER).

The SINP, a central government body and oldest institute in India for physics research, badly required afirm commitment from the state on availability of land to beat Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Sciences in bagging the prestigious project.

After France, Germany, the US and Japan, this will be the world's fifth high-energy facility on Synchrotron. It will also be the most advanced.

During his visit to the institute in August 2011, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offered SNIP the prestigious project.

But, for more than a year, the Bengal government was unable to earmark a suitable plot near Kolkata, adding to SINP’s anxiety of losing the project to the IISc., which had a plot ready at Karnataka’s Chitradurga.

"It's a fantastic tool to develop new materials, especially in the field of nano-electronics. It means that, in future, say, computers and gadgets can reduce to the size of a wrist-watch. It can also bring path-breaking results for medical science through advanced molecular mechanism of disease biology," Milan Sanyal, director of SINP, told HT.

"Right now, there's a revolution going on in material research. With the Centre's and state's help, we can be a part of it," Sanyal added.

Banerjee, whose politics got a fresh lease of life after her agitation against the Tata Nano factory at Singur, had already refused to land for a proposed petrochemical hub at Nandigram and a nuclear power plant for Haripur.

Although the SINP initially wanted 200 acres, Banerjee has ensured 100 acres at Kalyani.

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