Governor optimistic of amicable solution to Singur impasse

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Kolkata, Sep 13 (UNI) West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi today said an amicable solution to the Singur impasse, favouring the development of both agriculture and industry in the state, would be reached.

In a statement, the Governor said, ''Through the Singur discussions on September 5-7, I saw earnest participants showing a rare spirit of accommodation which needs to be operationalised.

''A solution can still be found in a manner that accords with the law, safeguards the interest of the farmers as well as the small car factory and helps in establishing the farm-factory balance,'' the statement added.

In the course of his statement, the Governor also quoted one of the verses of Nobel Laurete Rabindranath Tagore, ''Jiban jakhon shukai jai/Koruna dharai esho'' (When the heart is hard and parched up, come upon me with a shower of mercy).

The Singur stalemate continued as talks between Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee failed yesterday 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 settle for nothing short of 300 acres. She had demanded 400 acres of land, including 300 acres inside the project area.

While the state government had earlier agreed to give up 40 acres of land, the Chief Minister 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.

This was for the second time after September seven, when the Chief Minister and Ms Banerjee held a marathon discussion in presence of the Governor, that the two leaders were holding talks across the table.

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

Trinamool Congress representative at the meeting Rabindranath Bhattacharya said he would take up the proposals with the party leadership for a decision.

Meanwhile, Tata Motors informed the state government that the land claimed by Trinamool Congress to be vacant was not so, Industry Secretary Sabyasachi Sen said.

''We sent feedbacks received from Trinamool Congress to the Tata Motors about the claimed vacant plots and the Tatas have given a reply stating that those plots were already shown in the planned land-use maps for the small car project,'' he said.

The committee comprises WBIDC Managing Director Subrata Gupta, Hooghly District Magistrate Neelam Meena from the Government side and MLA Rabindranath Bhattacharya and Mr Becharam Manna representing the Trinamool Congress.

The Trinamool representatives had been claiming that it was possible to find 300 acres of land from within the small car factory area to be given back to farmers while the Tatas had already warned the state government against taking any measure that might hamper the integrated nature of the project comprising the mother plant and the vendor park.


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