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Singur observes a day shutdown; blame-game begins

Kolkata, Sat, 04 Oct 2008 NI Wire

A day after Tata Motors Chairman, Ratan Tata eventually decided to pull out from Singur in West Bengal to keep alive the Nano Project dream, a 12-hour ‘Singur shutdown’ on Saturday has been called by the Communist Party of India in protest against the decision.

Blaming Trinamool Congress Chief Mamta Banerjee for Tata’a depart, CPM said nearly 10,000 people who had sold their land to Tata would be unemployed. The situation is very tense in Singur and other places of the state but under control, police said.

With few exceptions, the shutdown has been successful so far as most of the shops and markets remained closed and vehicles off the road. Trains were clogged at Kamarkundi railway station thus prevented movement of trains between Howrah-Burdwan Chord lines.

Farmers, who gave their land for the Nano project, were protesting Tata’s depart; they blocked the Durgapur expressway and Tata’s plant as well since last night. Farmers afraid of their future after the closedown of the Nano project said they would neither have land nor employment. Particularly, those farmers were very tensed who had invested a large part of their amount, received from Tata in lieu of land, in Nano plant in want of profit.

Finding no long-lasting solution to Nano plant, Ratan Tata on Friday decided to pull out its Nano car project, popularly known as lakhtakiya car, from West Bengal after the talks failed with the West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Ratan Tata in distress said: “We have to take this regretful decision to move Nano out of West Bengal with great sadness. We faced great agitation from the opposition and that is the sole reason for moving out. We can not run a plant with police protection, with bombs being thrown, walls broken and people intimidated.”

Industry Reaction

The Bengal Inc dubbed the pull out of Tata’s Nano project from Singur as extremely “unfortunate” and “disappointed.”

“I am very disappointed and depressed. This will take West Bengal back by many decades. Tatas moving out of the state will have a negative reaction as Nano is the symbol of common man,” said Indian Chamber of Commerce president Sanjay Budhia.

Many industrialists were of the view that Tatas departure from the Bengal would fetch immense loss to the state; it would badly affect the economic development of the state and retard the state miles back.

Political imbroglio

With Tata’s departure from the state, a series of attack and counter-attack between the political parties has been kicked off.

Mostly it is the Trinamool Congress local leaders and workers who are finding themselves on the back foot. It is TC led oppositions who have been spearheading agitation against Nano project on behalf of 2000 farmers who did not want to sell their lands to the Nano plant.

Now Tata’s final decision to leave Bengal has infused fear in them that it might shake their political base.

Industry Minister Nirupam Sen said the decision is very unfortunate for the West Bengal. He came down heavily upon Banerjee for resorting to irresponsible destructive agitation programme which culminated into Tata’s pull out of Singur. Her narrow political gain has forced Tata to leave at last.

TC Chief Mamta Banerjee dubbed the Tata’s pull out decision as a joint game plan of the Tatas and the CPI (M). She said the pullout politically motivated and it was never ever had to come out in the open.

Local people’s reaction

Local people residing in and around Singur have been opposing Tata’s decision to leave Bengal as it would incur immense loss upon them. People, who had invested in the company a part of their money received in lieu of selling their land to Nano plant, have decided to restrict Tata to stay there, or else their money would sink.

Labourers working in the company have announced they are not in favour of Nano plant’s departure and would not allow the company to take away machineries and other essential equipments.

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