Amarinder denies letting Nano off the hook

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Chandigarh, Oct 7 (UNI) Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh today claimed that the Tatas at one point were very keen to set up their Nano project in Punjab and detailed negotiations in this regard were held between the state government and the company officials during his tenure.

'' As chief minister I had a meeting with Ratan Tata in Chandigarh and he was satisfied with us, but then for reasons known only to him, the company decided against Punjab,'' Capt Singh said while referring to his successor Parkash Singh Badal's allegations that the Tata's had opted out as the then chief minister had shown disinterest in the project.

Addressing mediapersons at the Press Club here, Capt Singh said the Tatas had intially shortlisted four states--Punjab, West Bengal, Uttarkhand and Gujarat for the Nano project. The then Punjab government offered the company 700 acres of land near Ropar, at Nabha and at Phillaur, though the Tatas wanted to setup the project at Mohali, he said while pointing out that the government could not offer land at Mohali as it was too expensive and moreover no land was available there.

Ultimately, the Tata's agreed on Ropar after the company team had surveyed all the three sites, he added. The Tats's wanted the Punjab government to build a colony at a cost of Rs 300 crore at the project site which would be leased out to the company at nominal rates and they also wanted deferment of VAT for 30 years amounting to Rs 600 crore, a loss to the state government, he claimed.

Capt Singh said after negotiations, the government agreed on the land and colony demand but on the VAT waiver the government made it clear that it will be done if the Tatas invest Rs 2700 crore in the project. However, when the Tatas agreed on an investment of Rs 1500 crore, the government made it clear that its share would be only one third of the investment, he added.

''Despite agreeing on all points, the Tatas decided on West Bengal, from where they are now shifting'', he added.

UNI HS PD AS1836

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