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'We don't bother about Nano or No-No'

BS Reporter 

As the Nano was launched, journalists got both Mamata Banerjee, the leader of the opposition in West Bengal whose blockade forced the Tatas to shift the car factory out of the state, and state Industry Minister Nirupam Sen to comment on what West Bengal lost in the process.

This is what Mamata Banerjee had to say:

Are you upset with the Nano coming out from elsewhere?
We don’t bother about Nano or No-No. We are bothered about peoples’ problems. The government forcefully and illegally occupied the land at Singur – that’s why we opposed forceful occupation of the land.

Where will land for industry come?
Land is is for human beings and you cannot violate humanity.

What about development?

The government could have utilised natural resources of the state to ensure development rather than just forcefully occupying land. Opening up closed small-scale industries could have provided jobs to about 1.5 million people. Digha (a beach resort) could have been Goa today if the government had any brains. Engineering and textile industries, projects using clean coal and coal bed methane are needed to tap Bengal’s potential. The leather industry and Kolkata and Haldia ports need to be developed.

Here’s what Industry Minister Nirupam Sen had to say

Is it a miss for Bengal?
It is a very sad day for the state, and also dangerous for the future.

Were enough efforts made to retain the project?
The government tried, and even the people of Singur formed NGOs like the ‘Nano Bachao Committee’ to retain the project. Sadly, these failed.

So why did voters in Singur vote against the Left in the panchayat polls?
The people were temporarily misled into voting against the Left, just after the Nano project was pulled out of Singur. I am sure they rethink now.

What will your party do to tackle the opposition, like Trinamool?
The Left Front will continue its mass contact and education programme to create public opinion favouring industrialisation.

And the land in Singur?
Land is partly with the government, partly with the company. In the changed economic scenario, I cannot say how quickly another plant will come up there.

First Published: Tue, March 24 2009. 00:19 IST