'Tata Motors to invest Rs 1000 crore'
Kolkata, Jul 05: West Bengal Commerce and Industries Ministers Nirupam Sen today informed the state assembly about Tata Motors' decision to set up a small car manufacturing unit at Singur in Hoogly district with an investment of Rs 1000 crore.
Replying to a calling attention motion, moved by 14 All India Trinamool Congress members simultaneously, Mr Sen denied their allegation that the government without caring for the future of farmers had taken over a large chunk of multi-crop farmland for the car manufacturing plant.
On the contrary he said, the majority of about 1000 acres of land which have been acquired by the Tata Motors for the proposed plant were non-agricultural. The Left Front government had decided to acquire non-agricultural and wasteland by paying adequate compensation to the farmers living in those areas, he said.
He said intially the Tatas were offered some other land near Kharagpur in East Midnapore district, but as they had rejected the proposal and had scouted for a suitable area for the plant before zeroing in on Singur, the governmment had decided to allot them basically non-agricultural and wasteland.
The minsiter said though a portion of this land at Singur along the national highway was farmland, the majority of it was very lowland and does not have much prospect of farming.
He said keeping in view of the importance of the Tata Motors decision to set up their much talked about small car manufacturing unit in the state, the government had agreed to provide them suitable land, but Mr Sen said enough steps were being taken to ensure that the local farmers were given adequate compensation and that the area did not fall under any residential zone.
He also sought close cooperation from all quarters, including the opposition, in this reagard.
Later, speaking to newsmen Congress chief whip Manas Bhuiya described the industry minister's statement as totally 'false' and 'incorrect'.
Criticising the state government's move to allot farmland for industry, Dr Bhuiya however made it clear that the party and the opposition was not against industrialisation programme of the state government, but against the allocation of cropland for industry.
Citing some previous examples in this regard, he said huge chunks of agricultural land were also arbitrarily taken away by the government for setting up of HPL.
Dr Bhuyia also asked the chief minister and the industries minister to refrain from their aggresive attitude towards random industrialisation of the state and find an alternative route towards an allround growth.