Buddha rules out shelving Tata's Singur project

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Kolkata, Aug 26 (UNI) Rejecting the demand of the Opposition Trinamool Congress for return of 400 acres of Tata Motors' small car factory site to farmers, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said the Nano project shall not be missed.

'' I cannot afford to return the 400 acres of land. If that is done, then the Tata Motors' project has to be dropped. I can not allow that to happen,'' he said during an interactive meting with members of Assocham.

The Chief Minister's statement came a day after Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee spurned talks offer from him for breaking the political stalemate over the small car project and put her foot down for return of the land.

Leading her partymen, Ms Banerjee has been continuing an indefinite dharna near the project site from August 24 to press for her demand that 400 of the total 997 acres of the project site be given back to farmers from whom it was acquired 'forcibly'. She also demanded that the ancillary units for the integrated automobile project be relocated elsewhere.

The Chief Minister also said it was not "legally possible" to return the land.

Describing recent protests at Singur as "unfortunate," Mr Bhattacharjee said said he was still optimistic about the future of the Nano project.

"I am not an egoist. We are ready to formulate a package for those affected by the project..."I still believe that the problem will be solved amicably and Nano will roll out from the Singur plant in October," he said.

The Chief Minister said his Government would shortly initiate a dialogue process with Tatas, the Trinomul Congress and all concerned stake holders to end the deadlock.

He also appealed to the Tatas not to pull out from Singur since it was their flagship project and take the current process of resistance with tremendous patience so that the project was implemented in time.

The Chief Minister and Industry Minister Nirupam Sen had already held talks with the Trinamool leadership to solve the problem with a rider that demand for return of land should not be pre-condition for the truce process.

The situation that led to a deadlock, prompted Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata to threaten to pull out the project from West Bengal.


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