Tatas unhappy with Singur deal

Singur, Sept 08: Just when the people’s car Nano seemed to have come back on road following a deal between the West Bengal government and Mamata Bannerjee to resolve the Singur row, a dampener has come from none other than Tata Motors.

In a statement, Tata Motors said on Monday that they are unhappy with the deal reached late last night, claiming it lacks clarity.

Saying the company was distressed at limited clarity of discussion, the statement confirmed that the work at Nano’s mother plant will continue to remain suspended.

Tata Motors also made it clear that they would not accept any awarding of land from within the around 1,000-acre project area.

The company however added it will review the situation if convinced of viability of project. But it added that the integral nature of the mother plant and ancillary units at Singur must be maintained.

Sources meanwhile said that Tatas were unhappy as they were not consulted prior to the deal. Also, the company doesn’t view the deal between Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Bannerjee and the state government as a solution to the Singur row and is concerned that continued suspension of work was affecting the viability of the Nano project.

The company also believes, according to sources, that people with limited knowledge of the Nano project were taking definitive calls on the issue.

Reacting to the Tata statement, a Trinamool spokesperson said that the objections raised by Tata Motors were its own problem. “We cannot compromise any further on farmer’s interest,” the spokesperson added.

The events earlier in the day had given ample hints that it will be some time before Tata Motors restart work at Singur to produce their small car Nano. The company’s employees failed to show up for work at Singur, a day after farmers called off their 15-day strike to demand a part of the land acquired for the project back from the government.

The West Bengal government and the Trinamool Congress, which was spearheading the agitation, reached a far-reaching pact late Sunday evening to resolve the 28-month dispute. The talks between the two were mediated by West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

The agitation since August 24 had led Tata Motors to suspend work at the factory to produce the world’s cheapest car, priced at Rs 1,00,000 (USD 2,500), which had caught global attention.

The agreement, reached after talks between West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, calls for a committee to look into the demands of affected farmers.

A section of the farmers – who owned some 400 acres out of 997.11 acres acquired for the project, and ancillary units – wanted the same to be returned, saying it was forcibly acquired.

The committee will have to give its report in seven days.

Till then, while work at Tata Motors factory can resume, the construction of the ancillary units around it will be on hold, Governor Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, said last night while announcing the breakthrough.

“This is a great victory for all those who have been agitating for close to two-and-a-half years. As the government has decided to provide land to the unwilling farmers, it is a big outcome of the dialogue,” Banerjee had said after the deal.

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