Undeterred by Ratan Tata’s threat to take the Nano plant elsewhere, Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee started on Sunday an indefinite agitation outside the factory.
Social activist Medha Patkar, Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and Progressive Independent Congress president Somen Mitra joined her at the protest. And so did a lot of party activists.
<b1>Banerjee is demanding the return of 400 acres of land, which, she alleges, were forcibly acquired by the West Bengal government for the Nano plant. This land was meant for ancillary units for parts required by the Nano plant. Tatas argue locating them away from the plant would add to costs, something the Rs-1-lakh car cannot afford.
Mamata doesn’t buy that. "Why hold on to the additional 400 acres which the Government acquired for the Tatas to accommodate the ancillary units." "These vendors can be settled somewhere close by," she argued. "I am not against industry but it cannot happen at the cost of agriculture," she added.
As she hit her stride, so did the protestors. Some of them wanted to tear down the two-kilometer wall that encloses the Nano plant. But she asked them to back off: no violence.
"We’ll get back the land through peaceful means. We’ll neither demolish the wall nor attack the Tata plant," she said.
That quietened down the protestors. They were back on their feet cheering when she suggested a solution: some land apparently owned by CPM-linked land promoters.
"This is the solution," she thundered.