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Free for all: Tata factory at Singur vandalised

Last updated on: June 23, 2011 10:15 IST

Free for all: Tata factory at Singur vandalised

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Swati Garg in Singur

The stillborn Tata Motors' Nano factory at Singur, which was supposed to roll out the 'people's car', ironically, appears to have become people's property following the promulgation of the Singur Bill last night.

The boundary wall has been brought down and makeshift entrances to the unit have come up overnight. Bricks, pipes, asbestos sheets and glass panes from the site were stolen and stockpiled at a village shop.

"The gates have been taken away along with a lot of other equipment. We could enter the site quietly earlier as well, but after the notice of acquisition by the government, we consider it our own," said a local, squatting on the factory site.

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Image: The interior of the Tata Motors' plant in Singur.
Photographs: Reuters
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Free for all: Tata factory at Singur vandalised

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On Wednesday evening, the West Bengal Government had notified the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Bill, effectively revoking the agreement signed with Tata Motors.

Since then, the 400-odd security guards deployed by the Tatas at the factory site have left under government instruction. The government has instead deployed about 200 police personnel for the site's security.

"The area within the factory premises has been used as thoroughfare for long. We cannot tell farmers to leave the premises if they choose to continue using it as a cattle feeding ground," said a policeman stationed at the abandoned ancillary unit.

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Image: Unfinished Singur factory.
Photographs: Reuters
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Free for all: Tata factory at Singur vandalised

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The administration on its part continued to negate the fact that the site was, in fact, being subjected to vandalism.

"No one is being allowed to enter. We have deployed over 200 security personnel. At present, we are working on taking stock of inventory-machines and other supplies within the factory.

Besides this, the factory is locked, making it impossible for people to enter," said Singur block development officer (BDO) Pulak Sarkar.

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Image: A farmer at the Singur site.
Photographs: Parth Sanyal/Reuters
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Singur has been in the news since Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata chose the site for setting up the Nano Car plant in 2006.

In 2008, he pulled out of Singur because of agitations by unwilling farmers, who refused to take compensation and demanded their land back.

The agitation was supported by Trinamool Congress chief and the incumbent West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The political mileage she derived from the agitation catapulted her into the CM's chair, a fact the unwilling farmers openly accept.


Image: File photo: Tata Motors security personnel and policemen stand guard at Singur factory.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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