A couple of hours after Ratan Tata addressed the media in Singur, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee launched her ballistics against the Tata baron and said that unless the disputed 400 acres acquired for the Tata Motors plant at Singur were returned to the farmers, Nano may not see the light of the day.
Just 48 hours before her impending agitation and indefinite Dharna at Singur beginning August 24, Mamata said there was no turning back from her declared political movement, unless the Tatas and the State Government took the initiative to settle the land crisis.
“Mr Rata Tata should understand that Bengal would not tolerate forcible acquisition of lands and a deathblow to its agriculture. And the recent panchayat and municipal poll results in Singur and Nandigram reflects that,” Mamata told HT. "There cannot be industry at the cost of agriculture."
The firebrand leader said that the Tata Motors plant could only operate at Singur provided it limits itself to 600 acres and the rest 400 acres are returned to the farmers who want their lands back. The vendors can have their shops on 400 acres somewhere close by.
“Let industry and agriculture flourish together in Singur. And I believe that Rs 1,500 crores already pumped in by the Tatas for its plant here is not a big amount for a rich industrial house like the Tatas. So they can accommodate the vendors elsewhere,” Mamata claimed.
Talking about the letter that Tata Motors MD Ravi Kant has written to her a couple of days back, she said that it clearly states that the motor plant at Singur would come up over 600 acres to 650 acres of land and the rest 400 acres have been earmarked for the vendors.
What’s more, Mamata also goes on to cite that a Union Industry Ministry memo says that a motor plant would require around 450 acres of land for producing the automobiles. “So the Tatas should stick to only 650 acres of land,” said Mamata.
“And if the Tatas decide to do so, the small car would roll out smoothly. Other technicalities can be resolved easily if the main issue is solved,” added Mamata.
The Trinamool chief alleged that the State Government was misleading Ratan Tata and the clandestine meeting between State Industry Minister Nirupam Sen and the Tata chief is a mysterious development.
She said ever since the agreement between the Tata Motors and the State Government was signed, the whole project and its modalities have been kept under the wraps. Mamata said repeated demands by the Trinamool MLAs to know about the agreement in the Legislative Assembly have been rejected by the State Government.
Mamata claimed that the Right to Information has been violated in this case. However, she revealed that the documents available to her shows that the Tatas have been given massive incentives by the State Government for setting up its motor plant at Singur.
“But why such incentives are being given to only the Tatas, why not to the other automobile makers? Why shouldn’t the State Government have a uniform industrial policy?” asked Mamata.
A furious Mamata said that there was no question of Trinamool stopping the land agitation if the Tatas and the State Government continue to ignore the interests of the farmers.
Insisting that her doors were not closed to the idea o talks with the Tatas, she said that the State Government had misled her in the past on the motor plant and now it was giving wrong ideas to Ratan Tata. “But,” Mamata said, “If Mr Ratan Tata does not understand the harsh realities then we cannot be blamed."