Buddha promises Ratan Tata a 'silent protest'

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Kolkata, Aug 24: It will be a silent protest on August 24, promised West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to Ratan Tata. Buddhadeb is in a state of turmoil a day-after Ratan Tata threatened to pull out of Singur in the wake of agitration plans by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Bannerjee and farmers.

Reacting to such a threat, Buddhadeb said that there was no question of Tata factory moving out of Singur in the wake of the company's threat that it is prepared to move the plant elsewhere to make the Nano car.

"There is no question of Tata factory moving out of Singur. If the chairman of the company wants to set up a plant in some other state, I have no problem. I would really want him to stay in Singur," Bhattacharjee told reporters here. Meanwhile, two thousand policemen and Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been deployed during Trinamool Congress' indefinite strike at Singur from Sunday.

''We hope the agitation will remain peaceful as the local leaders have assured verbally that they will not resort to violence,'' State Home Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty said in Kolkata on Saturday.

When asked what would happen if the agitators tried to break the boundary wall of the car plant, he said, "we believe that the local leaders will keep their word that nobody will indulge in violence."

An official source said all the entry points to the plant have been sealed as a precautionary measure.

The Trinamool-backed Krishi "Jami, Jiban O Jibika Raksha Committee" (Save Farmland Forum) will be on dharna demanding return of 400 acres to farmers who were allegedly unwilling to part with their land.

Maharashtra, Punjab and Orissa Governments have invited TATA Motors Chairman Ratan Tata to consider moving the plant to their states.

On Friday, Tata has said that he was prepared to move the plant to make the Nano, the world's cheapest car, from Singur if violent protests continued, despite having invested Rs. 1500 crore in the project.

TATA Motors has faced protests and political opposition over the acquisition of farmland for the plant in Singur, which have led to cost overruns and threaten to delay the car's launch.

The company started to build its factory in Singur in January 2007. The much awaited one-lakh rupee car, Nano, was unveiled by Ratan Tata in New Delhi in January this year, and it is likely to hit roads by October. But the project, which has become a test case for the ruling Communist party in the State, has been opposed by some farmers who claim that the Government took their land against their will.

There have been regular protests in West Bengal this year over the acquisition of agriculture land for setting up industries. Protesters have occasionally tried to stop work at the factory and fought with workers. An engineer had to be taken to hospital after his car was stoned last month.


ANI

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