Kolkata, Sep 3: On Tuesday, Sep 2 Tata Motors annouced the decision to relocate its Nano plant from Singur and roll out the world's cheapest car from an alternate facility. ''The company is evaluating alternate options for manufacturing the Nano car at other company facilities and a detailed plan to relocate the plant and machinery to an alternate site is under preparation,'' a Tata Motors spokesperson said.
The company, which indefinitely stopped work at the Singur project on August 29 following a 'lay-siege' programme by Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, also officially announced suspension of work. ''The situation around the Nano plant continues to be hostile and intimidating. There is no way this plant could operate efficiently unless the environment becomes congenial and supportive of the project,'' the spokesperson said.
Describing the Tatas' move as 'unfortunate', state Industry Minister Nirupam Sen held the Opposition responsible for it. ''Today is a sad day for us. It is ominous for the state...we could not think that the Opposition could have been so irresponsible,'' he said.
However, seemingly unfazed, Mamata Banerjee said she did not have much to comment on it. ''It is absolutely an internal and technical matter of the Tatas. We do not have any comment on it,'' she said.
''It is not desirable that somebody leaves the state. But nothing can be done at the cost of the farmers' tears,'' she opined.
Ms Banerjee had been spearheading an indefinite dharna near the Tata Motors' plant since August 24 demanding that 400 out of the total 997 acre of the project land be returned to farmers, who were allegedly forced to party with their plots.
The decision of Tata Motors came a day after Ms Banerjee seemed to have softened her hard stand by responding to a request of Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who stressed the need for resolving the tangle through dialogues with the Government with the help of a neutral mediator. On Tuesday, Sep 2, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee met the Governor at the Raj Bhavan and requested him to personally mediate in the talks, while Leader of Opposition Partha Chatterjee, an emissary of Ms Banerjee, also met the Governor twice.
'' The Chief Minister had a prolonged discussion with the Governor on the problem. He said there was no need for any other intermediary. You personally act as a mediator. The Governor told the Chief Minister that he would consider his proposal, '' sources in the Chief Minister's secretariat said.
As the Singur situation threatened to spiral out of proportion, Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata warned on August 22 that he would not hesitate to pull out with the small car project from West Bengal even after an investment of Rs 1,500 crore if violence and disruption in work continued.
A number of other states, including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Orissa and Assam, virtually offered a red carpet to the Tatas, wooing for the project to be relocated.
The Tata Motors authorities said they were constrained to take the decision in order to ensure safety of the company's employees and contract labourers, '' who have continued to be and violently obstructed from reporting to work.''
''The company has assessed the prevailing situation in Singur, after five continuous days of cancellation of work, and believes that there is no change in the volatile situation around the plant, '' they said.
The project's auto ancillary partners, who had commenced work at their respective plants in Singur, were also constrained to suspend work in line with Tata Motors' decision, they said.