"We can't let Tatas move out of West Bengal", Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said on Monday in his letter to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee while inviting her for talks to resolve the standoff over farmland acquisition for the Tata Motors small car factory in Singur.
"I am ready to discuss everything with Banerjee regarding the Singur land row. I've written in my letter that we'll jointly find a solution for the Tata Motors Singur plant," Bhattacharjee told reporters at the state secretariat Writers' Building in Kolkata.
He said: "I request Banerjee to join the process of dialogue and resolve the matter. We have to solve the issue for the sake of industrialisation of the state. We can't let Tatas move out of West Bengal."
Bhattacharjee's missive reached Banerjee in Singur on Monday evening, where she is holding an indefinite protest against the takeover of 400 acres from "unwilling farmers" by the government for Tata Motors' Nano project.
Hooghly district additional Superintendent of Police Debashis Boral handed over the letter to a Trinamool Congress official at Singur, about 40 km from Kolkata.
Expressing concern over Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata's pull-out threat, Bhattacharjee said: "Already five state governments have evinced interest to welcome Tata Motors' Nano project in their states."
"Last week Ratan Tata said he would move out of West Bengal if the agitation persists in Singur. The situation, what is happening there, should not continue. It's a peculiar state of affairs," he said.
The Trinamool-led Krishijami Jiban Jibika Raksha Committee (KJJRC), which opposes the takeover of farmland for the Tata project, called for an indefinite protest at the Nano factory site from Sunday.
They are demanding return of the 400 acres, alleging it was forcibly taken from "unwilling farmers" to build ancillary industries adjacent to the Tata Motors' main plant.
A total of 997.11 acres was acquired for the project, of which 691.66 acres belonged to farmers who gave their land willingly.
The four-seater Nano is to have a dealer price of Rs.100,000 ($2,500), about half the cost of the cheapest car in today's market.