Is it curtains for Nano at Singur ?

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New Delhi, Sep 4 (UNI) The question on everyone's mind with work being suspended at the Tata Motors' Singur plant is whether the patron company will bid adieu to West Bengal, but the real question remains the fate of the 'People's car'.

All eyes are now set on Ratan Tata's attending the the annual convention of SIAM, which was held here yesterday.

Speculations are rife whether the company will move the production of Nano to its other plants with Pantnagar, Uttarakhand leading the race.

The company already manufactures its mini truck ACE from there.

State governments of Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand have rolled out the red carpet to welcome the company to set up base for manufacture of its 'Lakhtakiya Car' as its popularly known in the hinterland.

If the company decides to pull out of West Bengal, the state will receive a major blow which has seen a good flow of investments over the last two years following Tata's announcement to invest Rs 1,500 crore for setting up the plant in Singur.

Captains of the industry have backed Tata's decision and expressed disappointment over the state's role in handling the issue.

Trouble started brewing in Singur after the State Government in West Bengal acquired 997 acres of land for the Tata Motors project to manufacture the world's cheapest car 'Nano' and for ancillary units.

A section of farmers, supposed to be the owners of about 400 acres of the acquired land, had refused to part with the same.

The State's main opposition--Trinamool Congress, had since taken up their cause, disrupting work at the site.

A Tata statement announcing the suspension fell short of declaring the company pulling out of West Bengal for good.

The state, which is under the communist regime, has hardly witnessed any significant investment and was banking on this project to lure investors in the state.

Studies had shown that West Bengal had actually moved up on the list of investor's choice for setting up base in the State, but the fate now depends on the decision.

The industry has been mooting for a amicable settlement of the standoff between the parties.

The company has said it is still open to last-minute solutions but going by the developments, it is not a rosy picture with the Trinamool Congress refusing to budge from its demand for return of 400 acres of land and the state government expressing its helplessness.

Yesterday's presence of Ratan Tata here assumes great significance as it was his dream project and everyone is waiting for his final decision on the project.

So, whether it will be curtains for Singur or will the Trinamool Congress finally relent on its demands, is a matter for the future, but what is sure is that the future of the people of Singur hangs in a balance.

UNI TEAM MP CS0850

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