Tensions in Singur escalated further on Tuesday with the agitators led by Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress insisting that 400 acres of land acquired for the Tata's Nano car factory be returned to the local farmers.
"We are not against the Tatas or bringing more industry into Bengal," clarified Mamata. "But there can be no concession in our demand that the farmers' land should be returned to them."
State industries minister Nirupam Sen ruled out any such possibility. "If we give back the land, we will have to acquire it elsewhere, and that would create fresh trouble," he said.
He, however, assured that the Tatas had no intention of taking the Nano factory elsewhere. "We have not received any communication from the Tatas saying they want to pull out," he said.
The situation is worsening with increasing reports of the Trinamool dominated Krishi Jami Raksha Committee (KJRC), which is agitating for the farmers, forcing workers at the Tata plant to stay away from work, and even leave the area. The KJRC has planned a 'seige of Singur' from August 24. The CPM in turn has announced rallies in the area to counter the KJRC propaganda.
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Nirupam Sen have been desperately trying to bring Mamata to the discussion table. But she has persistently refused. She categorically says that there can be no talks with the State Government until 400 acres out of the 997 acres that have been forcibly acquired from the farmers is returned to them.
Home Secretary Ashok Chakraborty, DGP Anup Bhusan Bhora and other top officers visited Singur on Tuesday and reviewed the situation. Chakrabarti said the Tatas had been asked to upgrade security.