Former Indian cricket skipper Sourav Ganguly, a local hero, on Thursday urged Tata group chief Ratan Tata not to shift the Nano factory out of West Bengal and instead ensure that the small car was produced at Singur.
"Sourav has written to Ratan Tata, urging him to see to it that the Nano rolled out of Singur," Ashok Bhattacharya, state minister for municipalities and urban affairs, told IANS in Kolkata.
"Sourav told me he has written to Tata that the majority of people in Singur and the rest of the state were in favour of Tata Motors' Singur project. He has also mentioned the massive employment opportunities that the project will provide to the people of Singur and elsewhere," said Bhattacharya, known for his closeness to the cricketing icon.
Ganguly's missive to Tata comes a day before the industrialist is to meet Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at the state secretariat here in a last-ditch attempt to produce the car at the Singur factory, where the company suspended work exactly a month back - Sep 2 - fearing the safety of its workers.
Ironically, it was on the same day - September 2 - that Ganguly had come out in support of the project calling upon people to stand up for the venture, saying it would "revolutionise the industrial prospects of West Bengal".
"The starting of the Nano project will be the beginning of an era in West Bengal which will completely revolutionise the prospect of the state and the future of the youth," Ganguly, a Tata Steel employee, said in that statement.
Originally scheduled to roll out the world's most inexpensive car this month, the project faces uncertainty with the company signalling it was considering a pull-out and talking to other state governments for an alternate location following intense protests by the state's main opposition Trinamool Congress.
The protesters have demanded return of 400 acres to farmers who had to part with their land for the project against their will.
An agreement between the state government and the protesters in the presence of Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi as also a compensation package announced by the chief minister have failed to resolve the deadlock.