'Bengal govt to back Railways if Singur gets coach factory' | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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'Bengal govt to back Railways if Singur gets coach factory'

kolkata Updated: Dec 08, 2009 17:12 IST

The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government in Bengal is ready to cooperate with Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee if her ministry sets up a coach factory in Singur on the aborted Nano factory.

Bengal chief secretary Ashok Mohan Chakravarty has written a letter to the chairman of the Railway Board on Tuesday assuring the Railways of the support.

The support has been promised in the form of transferring the land, 40 km to the north of Kolkata.

The state government had given Tata Motors 997 acres of land on a 90-year lease. But months of Trinamool agitation led by Mamata Banerjee herself, compelled Tata group chairman Ratan Tata to abort the Nano project in October 2008.

In November 2009 Bharat Heavy Electricals (Bhel) had been had been shown the Singur land.

Bhel had been scouting for land for a thermal power plant, but opted out of Singur for a variety of technical reasons like inadequate land and water.

The government’s assurance of help to Railway Board comes after Bhel’s rejection of the land.

Mamata Banerjee had mooted the coach factory in June 2009.

But she had stuck to her earlier demand of returning 400 acres to the farmers originally unwilling to part with their land for the Nano project.

“Railways will build the factory on 600 acres,” she had said.

The land, however, still remains with the Tatas.

In September 2009 Ratan Tata had said they would return the land to the government if he was compensated for the investments – Rs 1,500 crore (15 billion) – Tata Motors had sunk in the plot.

Chakravarty didn’t clarify today whether the government was negotiating with the Tatas for return of the land.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has always maintained the government wants the land be used for setting up industry.

Singur Timeline

May 18, 2006: Ratan Tata, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee announces Nano project in Singur
May 25, 2006: Farmers demonstrate in Singur against acquisition
Sept 25, 2006: Mamata Banerjee alleges police torture on her in Singur
Oct 9, 2006: 12 hour Bengal bandh by Trinamool
Dec 3, 2006: Mamata begins hunger strike
Feb 6, 2007: Tata says rival hand clear in Singur
Feb 23, 2007: Kolkata High Court slams govt on Singur acquisition
Feb 15, 2008: Tatas announce Nano rollout by Nov
Aug 19, 2008: Mamata demands return of 400 acres
Aug 24, 2008: Mamata begins indefinite blockade at Singur
Oct 3, 2008: Tata pulls out of Singur