Singur/Kolkata, Sep 2 (UNI) Work remained suspended at the Tata Motors' Nano project for the fifth day today even as Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee softened her stand giving a ray of hope for ending the stalemate over her demand for returning 400 acres of land to farmers.
''Our workers will not be reporting to work today,'' a Tata Motors spokesperson said in a terse statement. Yesterday, the company said it was assessing the situation closely.
A week after Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata threatened to pull out the small car project from Singur, the company declared an indefinite shutdown in its project following Ms Banerjee's dharna near the site since August 24.
Tata Motors is slated to roll out the world's cheapest car from its factory in Singur in October.
Meanwhile, responding to an appeal of West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Ms Banerjee agreed for talks with the state government through a third party mediator to find a solution to the problem that threatened the entire project and the future of the state's industrialisation process.
The Trinamool chief, however, made it clear that the issue of returning 400 acres of land from the project site must figure as an agenda in the proposed talks.
Ms Banerjee also said after returning the 400 acre land acquired 'forcibly' from the 'unwilling' farmers, the 500-acre low-lying land opposite to the Nano project crossing the expressway could serve as an alternative site for setting up the ancillary units.
She suggested that an underpass could be constructed to establish a linkage between the collateral industry and the Tata's Singur project.
The Trinamool chief alleged that the 500 acre low lying land was in possession of CPI(M)-backed realtors.
''We want both the industry and agriculture to co-exist,'' she thundered.
The Governor had proposed in a letter that Ms Banerjee was free to chose a non-political person, who is not related to industry, as the intermediary.
Agreeing with the content of the Governor's letter, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee also welcomed Mr Gandhi's move to resolve the tangle.
Meanwhile, about 200 goods-laden trucks, stranded on Durgapur Expressway, were allowed to proceed towards Kolkata from midnight last night to 1000 hours this morning as one of the flanks of the highway was opened for the free passage of vehicles.
NH two had remained stranded since Ms Banerjee launched the indefinite dharna on August 24.
National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials and district police opened one of the lanes of the highway at 0900 hours yesterday and again at midnight last night and supervised the movement of vehicles carrying goods.
NHAI project director Avadesh Kumar said a meeting, attended by NHAI officials, SP (Hooghly) Rajiv Mishra and district police officials, was on to discuss the ways and means to enable free passage of vehicles on Durgapur Expressway.
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