Three weeks after Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee called off her hunger strike against the acquisition of farmland at Singur for the Tata small-car project, the company on Sunday unexpectedly started construction work at the site.
Banerjee, who had got assurances from the president and the prime minister that the matter would be discussed before any further step was taken at Singur, was livid. “I felt deceived when I came across the news in the electronic media about the state government’s and Tata Motors’ initiative to begin construction work even before holding talks with me,” she said in a handwritten press notice. “It is a breach of trust by the government.”
The notice added, “I am deeply hurt by the way the state government has started construction on the factory site by imposing Section 144 of the CrPC in the area and at gunpoint.”
At the project site near Beraberi, a group of villagers reportedly backed by the Trinamool Congress set fire to the temporary fencing erected by the company as soon as construction began.
MV Rao, state industries director, along with other senior officials who were present at the site said the company started initial construction work with the permission of the state government. Bhoomi puja was held before work began.
Officials of the commerce and industry department said the state government would formally hand over the land — about 1,000 acres — for the project to the Tata Motors within a week or two.