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Bengal govt wants to expedite Singur land return process

BS Reporter  |  Kolkata 

The West Bengal government has sought all documents on the Singur deal with Tata Motors from authorities of the commerce and industry department at the earliest.

“We will not let Mamata Banerjee’s 26-day fast for Singur go waste. I have asked for the lease agreement and all correspondence with Tata Motors by tomorrow,” Partha Chatterjee, who took charge as West Bengal commerce and industry minister, said.

Chatterjee will place the file before chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Banerjee’s first cabinet decision was to return 400 acres to unwilling farmers of Singur.

Chatterjee’s mandate was to expedite the process. “We don’t have a deadline… I can talk about the timeframe only once I have gone through the file but we have to expedite the process,” he said.

The urgency probably stemmed from the increasing expectations of the land losers at Singur, who have waited for a solution to the impasse for five years now, without collecting cheques.

The government was understood to be discussing with several experts on the mechanism of returning the land acquired for Tata Motors’ Nano project, though Chatterjee said that they already had “an idea” about it.

The Tata Motors mother plant was spread across 645 acres while the vendor park accounted for 290 acres of the total 997 acres.

On Friday, Banerjee had announced that the Tatas were welcome on setting up the project on 600 acres, but 400 acres would have to be returned to the unwilling farmers. The erstwhile government had pegged the disputed figure at 181 acres. Banerjee’s agitation for return of land dates back to 2006, which ultimately led to relocation of the Nano project to Sanand in Gujarat.

Tata Motors had responded that they did not have any guidance.

However, over the weekend Tata group chairman, Ratan Tata, who couldn’t make it to the swearing-in ceremony, sent a letter to Banerjee congratulating on her win in the elections. There was, however, no word on Singur.

The Trinamool Congress had sent out invitations to Ratan Tata, Tata Sons director, R Gopalakrishnan, Tata Steel vice chairman, B Muthuraman, Tata Motors vice chairman, Ravi Kant. But none of them made it.

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First Published: Tue, May 24 2011. 00:11 IST
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