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1,000 acres for Tata car unit in Bengal

July 05, 2006 10:38 IST

The West Bengal government has identified around 1,000 acres of barren and mono-crop land for the proposed small car project of Tata Motors at Singur in Hooghly district, 40 km west of Kolkata.

The district magistrate of Hooghly, Binod Kumar, said the land identified for the proposed project excluded multicrop land, which he defined as land lying within the command area of deep tubewells.

"The land office has excluded the two maujas of Gopalnagar and Baje Meria from the project as these have multicrop land," he said.

Tata Motors asked for 1,000 acres for the project.

Kumar convened an all-party meeting at the district collectorate on Tuesday where the administration gave a detailed presentation on the Tata project.

According to Kumar, the district administration was working to issue the notification for acquisition next week.

The district administration would have to get and official request from the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation before issuing the notice.

Kumar said Trinamool representatives were vocal among the political parties.

"We said farmers should come forward themselves if they have any objection and the government will listen to their objections," Kumar said.

The land would be acquired in Singur on behalf of WBIDC, which would then transfer it subsequently to Tata Motors.

Kumar said under existing regulations, land could be acquired only for a public sector undertaking and not for a private company.

The leader of the Trinamool Congress legislative party Partha Chatterjee said his party was not against industrialisation but it would not permit acquisition of double-crop or multi-crop land.

"Five years down the line, there will be acute food shortage and one should not be so short sighted for industrialisation," he warned.

The Congress went a step further and demanded that the Left Front government rethink the location of the Tata Motors small car project in Hooghly district.

"We are not averse to industry. Let the Tata Motors project come up on fallow land and not on the fertile land here where two to three crops are grown a year," state Congress working president Pradip Bhattacherjee said.

Bhattacherjee along with leaders Somen Mitra and Manas Bhuiyan met farmers opposing the state government's land transfer for Tata Motors.

The state government has said that it would compensate the farmers for the land.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, meanwhile, has started bipartite discussions to placate CPI-M's disgruntled allies in the Left Front like RSP, CPI and Forward Bloc over acquisition of land for industrial use.

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