Tatas begin construction at Singur

Mumbai, Kolkata, Jan 21 | Updated: Jan 22 2007, 05:30am hrs
Peasant unrest, a high-profile hunger strike and a political face-off later, Tata Motors small-car dream has finally begun to take shape. The company on Sunday said it had started construction of its Singur plant after it received the consent of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation. The plant is expected to be ready in 10-12 months.

The company has engaged contractors and sub-contractors, which will use manpower from the Singur area for unskilled jobs and also for assignments that require skills .

More than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs were expected to be created in the vicinity, a Tata Motors statement said.

The construction centred around building the boundary wall. Work went on unhindered, with a huge contingent of policemen providing security. We have started the construction of the car plant today, with piling work for the boundary wall, MV Kulkarni, managing director, Tata Constructions, who led the team at the plant, said.

Over 50 people from Singur were employed in the construction work. The number was expected to go past 2,500 during peak construction period.

The Singur plant has become a rallying point for those supporting industrialisation in Bengal, and those pitching for farmers. Opposition Trinamul Congress leader Mamata Banerjee went on a high-pitched 25-day hunger strike to protest against what she called incorrect policy of acquisition of land for the project by the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee-led Left Front government. Banerjee later called off her strike, but Singur remains an emotive issue in the state.

Meanwhile, Tata Motors is set to train the people of Singur, who had earlier registered with the WBIDC, to improve their employability. It has already selected a batch of individuals, on the basis of a test and interview, for an extensive 6-month training. Another group of 179 is undergoing training. Tata Motors is also organising groups of women from Singur families to supply food for the construction workers.