W. Bengal Governor defers Singur talks till Friday evening

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Kolkata, Sept 5 : The crucial meeting, which was to be chaired by West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi this morning to find a solution to the Singur deadlock, was postponed till late this afternoon.

The representatives of the State Government and the Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee met the Governor at Raj Bhavan for few minutes during which the State Government requested the Governor to postpone the talks by a few hours.

Accordingly, the Governor requested the Trinamool Congress to reassemble at 4:00 p.m.

The Government delegation is led by the State's Industries Minister Nirupam Sen while the oppostion Trinamool Congress is led by leader of the opposition in the State Assembly Partha Chattopadhyaya.

According to sources, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has decided to arrange an alternative plan for the unwilling farmers. With not much alternate land available, today's meeting may deliberate on a better compensation package for farmers whose land was acquired for the TATA Motors' car plant in Singur.

Earlier on Thursday evening, the Governor held separate meetings with delegations from both sides and representatives of farmers who are protesting the acquisition of some 400 acres of farmland.

Embroiled in controversy over land acquisition that led to suspension of work at the plant, its chairman Ratan Tata met Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on the same day.

Ratan Tata said he was hopeful of launching the Nano as he had planned and the company was doing "everything possible" to meet the deadline. The prospect of the talks has raised hopes that the Rs one lakh car could roll out on time in October this year.

According to reports, Ratan Tata, in his reply to the Governor's letter sent on Wednesday, said he had no problem in participating in any talks on Singur as suggested but was against any change in the land pattern.

The possibility of Tatas pulling out has sparked anger among supporters of the project, many of them farmers who had got compensation or jobs at the factory.

The Nano project has been billed as key to the rejuvenation of industries in West Bengal. The controversy over the factory has hurt the state's image as an investment destination.

In view that the stalemate was exacting social costs of a high magnitude apart from the investment costs and the implications on the polity, Gandhi wrote a letter on Wednesday to Ratan Tata informing him about the initiative taken to resolve the deadlock at Singur.

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