Nano impasse: Agitation intensifies in Gujarat

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Ahmedabad, Oct 14: Trouble just seems to be following the Tata's prestigious Nano project. After protesting farmers led by the Trinamool Congress drove the project out of West Bengal, now in its new home in Gujarat, it is almost like a repeat all over again.

The state Congress is up in arms along with the farmers saying the compensation given for their land is not enough. The farmers in Sanand are almost echoing the anti-Nano protestors in Bengal. The Congress in Gujarat says they want an RTI into the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Tata Motors and state government. They claim the government should have compensated the farmers for the land before giving it over to a corporate house.

"This land worth of Rs 1000 crore has been given at almost no cost to the Tatas for their project of only Rs 1500 crore. This is just not only state exchequer lost its income but also the poor farmers have been deprived of their legitimate demands of compensation for their own land," said Arjun Modhvadia, leader of opposition.

The government has argued that this is government land and the farmers have no claim over it. But egged on by the Congress, the farmers in Sanand the site of the plant have intensified their protests. The farmers claim they are historic owners of the land and that the dispute is already in court. They have brought a new legal notice against the government for not compensating them.

"How government can hand over our land to someone else without even consulting us. Government is not giving the land free to Tatas as government itself has claimed that Tatas bought land in existing market rate," said Mukesh Vaghela, farmer, Chharodi. But many say that this is political posturing by the Congress, which unlike Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, cannot afford to escalate its anti-Nano protests.

Congress leaders say that they welcome the Nano project as it benefits Gujarat. They are only asking for compensation for the farmers. Also, many of the Congress leaders are leading industrialists and have more than just a political stake in Gujarat's economic growth.

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