Hundreds of trucks lay stranded in West Bengal

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Durgapur Highway (West Bengal), August 27 : Hundreds of trucks are stranded on Durgapur highway in West Bengal due to ongoing protest initiated by Trinamool Congress over the Tata Motors' Nano factory being set up on 400 acres of farmland at Singur.

The truck drivers on the National Highway are facing tough times as the local protesting against the allotment of 400 acres of land to the TATA at Singur have blocked the highway since Sunday.

Stuck on the highway with very little food and water the drivers are almost starving for the past four days.

Apart from the huge loses incurred per day due to immobilization, the problem of theft and perishable goods getting ruined are also some add on burdens.

"I have urgent goods to be delivered. We are stuck because of road blockade for past three days, without anything to eat or drink. We cover a distance of three-four kilometers to get water. It's very troublesome. During the night the goons are stealing fuel from our vehicles and are asking for money. Where will we get the money from," complained Rajen Singh, truck driver.

Irritated by the protests and the loss incurred the drivers are against the protest called by Trinamool Congress, the stranded drivers said that these protests should have been initiated when the work on the plant started rather than now.

"Nobody is listening. Mamta Banerjee is sitting on protest. Will her blocking the roads solve the problem? Will disrupting the traffic and troubling the people solve the problem? When the company was being made and the plot was taken at that time they should have done something. When everything is complete they are blocking the road. This is causing only trouble for the public," remarked Guddu Shah, a truck driver.

For Tata Motors trouble started after the state's communist government took over farmland for the factory. The state offered compensation in return, but some villagers complained they did not receive their dues.

Others opposing displacement refused to obey the state and are declining compensation, many of them farmers with smaller land holdings.

In all, around 400 acres of land are still being fiercely disputed out of about 1,000 acres acquired by the government for the car making plant.

Tata Motors head Ratan Tata has threatened to shift out the plant from the state if violent protests continued, despite having invested 350 million dollars in the project so far. The plant is seen as a test of the communist government's resolve to industrialize the state.

In a desperate attempt to not lose out on the opportunities that the car plant will bring to West Bengal, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, offered talks to Trinamool chief Mamta Banerjee for resolving the issue but to no gain.

Tata Motor's threat to move out of West Bengal has already been welcomed by some other states, which are willing to give it land for setting up the plant in their regions.

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