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WB CM on Singur
Published on 11 Sep. 2008 2:04 AM IST
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West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Wednesday tried to remove doubts expressed by business houses about the state’s industrial climate following the prolonged stand-off over the Tata Motors’ small car factory, and said the trouble in Singur was only an exception. “I have told all companies I met in the last few days that Singur is an exception. West Bengal is not Singur,” the chief minister said at a function in the satellite township of Salt Lake. In an obvious reference to the opposition Trinamool Congress-led agitation in Singur, Bhattacharjee said: “Some people may create some problems, but people in general - particularly young men from universities - want industries.” Bhattacharjee said the Videocon group was setting up a large electronics complex in Siliguri in North Bengal, while seven steel plants are coming up in various parts of the state. Bhattacharjee asserted the state was not ignoring agriculture while going for rapid industrialization. “We are not ignoring agriculture, of course. But agriculture can’t be the only model”. The Trinamool Congress-led farmers have been protesting for over two years since the small car project was announced in May, 2006. The protesters have demanded that the government give back 400 acres - out of the total project area of 997.11 acres - taken from farmers “unwilling” to part with their land. The movement grew in intensity from Aug 24, when the Trinamool Congress laid siege on the plant, which led to the company suspending operations on Sep 2 and threatening to pull out of the state. Under the initiative of the governor, a deal was signed Sunday, after which the Trinamool Congress and the farmer’s group led by it lifted their siege on the Tata Motors’ plant. But the Tatas are yet to resume operations at the plant. The automobile major is scheduled to roll out the Nano, the world’s cheapest car, priced at Rs.100,000 in October.

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