The world's cheapest car, the Nano, may still roll out from Singur with Tata Motors [Get Quote] today expressing hope that the West Bengal government's new rehabilitation package will evoke a positive response from unwilling land-losers who had refused compensation.
If all goes well, the company could even look at resuming work at the factory site. Sources linked to contractors working at the site said they had been alerted to start work in a "few days".
These sources also said the internal target of rolling out the car on October 1 would not be met but the car would probably be launched in the October-December quarter and there was still time to work towards that.
|WHAT THE NEW REHAB SCHEME OFFERS|
|* 70 acres offered from the Tata Motors project site|
|* An additional 50% cash assistance to land-losers and bargadars* so that they can buy agricultural land of their choice|
|* Unrecorded bargadars* to receive 300 days wages at National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme rates|
|* Special 10% incentive for unwilling land-losers if they receive compensation befores September 22, 2008|
|* Government will train and endeavour to provide direct or indirect employment for one person per project-affected family with no regular employment or income|
|* Community development schemes will be taken up in project-affected villages|
A pullout could result in more delays, especially since 85 per cent of the mother plant work at Singur was completed.
Both the West Bengal government and Tata Motors appear to be pinning all hopes on the new rehabilitation package, which was widely advertised in the newspapers today in an effort to reach out to the people of Singur.
It has, however, been rejected by the opposition Trinamool Congress, which led a two-week protest in front of the factory complex that caused Tata Motors to suspend work at Singur and threaten to consider other locations for the Nano project.
The Trinamool Congress has planned a protest rally at Singur on September 16, a day after a Left Front rally there on September 15. Trinamool sources, however, said if the people accepted the package, the party would have to accept their stance.
In a press statement issued today, Tata Motors said it "appreciates and supports the recent initiatives of the government of West Bengal for the residents of Singur".
Talking about its plant at Singur, 40 km from Kolkata, the statement said: "Tata Motors decided to set up its Nano plant at Singur to play an active role in the re-industrialisation of the state of West Bengal and make a contribution to the economic development of the region, providing direct and indirect employment opportunities and participating in overall community development."
The company expressed the hope that "all stakeholders will contribute to create a congenial environment conducive to the long-term sustained operations of an industrial enterprise".
At a rally in Bardhaman today, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said work at the factory would resume as soon as possible. On Saturday, Left Front Chairman Biman Bose also urged Tata Motors to resume work immediately.