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Rlys ok for coach unit at Singur if land given back to farmers

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee today said her ministry is willing to set up a coach factory at the disputed Singur site, where the Tatas were originally supposed to come up with a plant for Rs 1 lakh car Nano, provided unwilling farmers get their land back.

"Railways has received a request from the government of West Bengal to set up a coach factory in Singur," Banerjee said while presenting the budget for 2010-11 in Parliament.

She, however, said out of the 997.11 acres, 400 acres of land at the disputed site should be handed over to the owners, who had opposed land acquisition for the Nano plant.

"Ministry of Railways has conveyed its willingness, provided the state government hands over the requisite land to the Ministry of Railways after returning 400 acres of land to the unwilling farmers," she said.

Banerjee had spearheaded the agitation against setting up of the Nano plant at Singur stating land was acquired forcefully without the consent of farmers.

Tata Motors had announced the Rs 1,500-crore project in West Bengal in May 2006, but was forced to abandon and shift the project to Sanand in Gujarat in October 2008.

Earlier this year, Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata had said the company would gladly return the land if compensated and virtually ruled out any further investment in Singur.

"We wouldn't stand in the way for another usage of the land if we are compensated for what we are leaving behind...We still hold the lease of the land," he had said.

First Published: Wed, February 24 2010. 18:40 IST