Singur impasse continues: talks fall apart

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Kolkata, Sep 12 (UNI) The Singur stalemate continued as talks between Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee failed tonight with the Opposition leader maintaining a hard bargain on the quantum of land to be returned to farmers from within the Nano project area.

Addressing a press conference at her residence after the one-hour and 15 minute meeting, Ms Banerjee said the Chief Minister had offered 70 acres of land from within the project area for rehabilitation of farmers, but she would not settle for nothing short of 300 acres. She had demanded 400 acres of land including 300 acres inside the project area.

''We had reached an agreement in presence of the Governor that the maximum land would be given from within the project area. It is a gentleman's agreement and the Government has to abide by that,'' she said.

While the state Government had earlier agreed to give up 40 acres of land, the Chief Minister today said he was ready to concede 30 acres more from within the walled area. He also placed some economic rehabilitation proposals before the Trinamool leader.

''The committee formed by the Government has already identified 300 acres from within the project area which the Government should part with in keeping with what was stated in the agreement signed on September seven. We still hope that the Government would keep its words,'' she said.

This was for the second time in the past five days that the Chief Minister and Ms Banerjee held face-to-face dialogue to resolve the Singur impasse.

The Chief Minister was accompanied by Housing Minister Gautam Deb while Ms Banerjee by Leader of the Opposition Partha Chatterjee and two other leaders.

Official sources said the Chief Minister invited Ms Banerjee over phone for talks at the Kolkata Information Centre on the basis of discussions of the four-member committee which was looking into the possibility of finding land to be returned to the 'unwilling' farmers.

Earlier in the day, the state government had submitted specific economic and land-based proposals to Trinamool Congress on Singur issue at the third meeting of a committee set up to identify land for returning to unwilling farmers.

Eds please pick up suitably from CA 32, Politics-Talks-Bhattachargee-Mamata.

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