Mamata not against Tata project but demands return of 400 acres land

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Singur, Aug 24 (UNI) Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee today categorically said her party was not against the Tata Motors' small car project at Singur, but stood firm on her demand for return of the 400 acres land ''forcibly acquired from the unwilling farmers''.

Addressing a public rally organised by her party in support of the demand, Ms Banerjee said, ''We are not opposing the Tata Motors project. But the 400 acres land acquired forcibly from the unwilling farmers should be returned to them.'' The Tata Motors project site covers a total area of 1,000 acres, out of which about 600 acres houses the small car factory, while the rest 400 acres has been earmarked for setting up ancillary industries.

''In the recent meeting, the Tatas had informed me that the small car factory covered an area of 600-650 acres, while ancillary industries would be set up in the rest of the area,'' she said.

The Trinamool supremo also informed that she had suggested setting up of the ancillary industries elsewhere and returning the 400 acres land ''forcibly acquired from the unwilling farmers.'' She said the stir would continue and the movement would be further intensified unless their demand for returning the land was not fulfilled.

Speaking at the public meeting, Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh described Ms Banerjee as a ''symbol of struggle''.

''We had made a mistake by staying with the CPM for the past few years. CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat had misled us, saying that Maoist ultras had entered Nandigram. But we have realised our mistake now and abandoned the Left parties,'' Mr Singh said.

He pledged his support to Ms Banerjee, saying, ''Mamata should not consider herself alone in the Lok Sabha. 40 Lok Sabha MPs of my party and 16 Rajya Sabha MPs are with Ms Banerjee.'' He also informed that the Trinamool supremo had assured him of supporting the agitation against the move for land acquisition in Noida.

Progressive Indira Congress chief Somen Mitra also came out in support of the Trinamool and said his newly-floated party would continue the agitation under the leadership of Ms Banerjee.

Among several other leaders and speakers, noted social activist Medha Patkar also addressed the rally.

She alleged that much more land than the actual requirement had been acquired for the Tata Motors small car project at Singur.

She also announced to launch a nationwide agitation from December 25 against the 'forceful acquisition' of land for the Tata Motors small car project.

Meanwhile, work at the small car factory remained practically disrupted for the whole day today as NH-two remained blocked due to which the project workers could not arrive at the site.

UNI XC-DPM PC PD KP1826

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