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Home > News > Report

Singur issue: Bengal CM to wait and watch

Indrani Roy Mitra in Kolkata | February 09, 2007 10:28 IST

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West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya has adopted a 'wait and watch' policy in his bid to solve the Singur impasse with opposition Trinamool Congress rejecting his offer of talks on land acquisition on Thursday.

"Who knows but the world may end tonight," Bhattacharya borrowed from poet Robert Browning before leaving the Writers' Building on Thursday.

The chief minister's letter sent to Trinamool leader Partha Chattopadhyay on Thursday read that the government wants a "rational and peaceful solution" to the land controversy for the steady progress of the state.

"If you have no problems, I am eager to discuss the state's overall situation with you at a bilateral meeting at Writers' Building on February 13 at 4.30 pm," the chief minister said in a one-page letter.

A visibly irritated Chattopadhyay said in his reply, "We can have a dialogue only if the land acquired in Singur is returned, and plans to acquire farmland in Nandigram and Bhangar are shelved." The reply, he said, was drafted after consulting Trinamool chief Mamta Banerjee.

Earlier, the chief minister seemed peeved at having received no reply to his letter to Mamta Banerjee sent on December 28. "A section of the Trinamool leadership has been telling the media that the government was not interested in talks. I don't know whether this is a fact," he said.

Those close to Banerjee, on the other hand, hinted that she is "unhappy that the letter is not addressed to her."

Despite repeated attempts on Thursday, the Trinamool chief refused to comment.

In the meantime, both the chief minister and Land Minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah have failed to win over Left Front allies over the need to relax land ceiling for industry and special economic zones.

The Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party and Communist Party of India are continuing their opposition to any SEZ in Bengal. This probably has led the CPI-M government to go slow on the Land Reforms Amendment Bill, 2006.

Left Front chairman and CPI-M state secretary said a meeting with the allies would soon be held "to bridge the gaps."