Tatas keep away staff from Singur for 2nd day

Written by Corporate Bureau | Kolkata, Aug 30 | Updated: Aug 31 2008, 07:40am hrs
Work at the Tata Motors small-car project site at Singur remained suspended for the second consecutive day on Saturday after the company assessed the situation and decided it was not conducive for it to shuttle its employees to the site.

There has been no improvement in the ground situation so far, hence the conditions are still not conducive for resuming work today. We continue to assess the situation closely, Tata Motors said in a statement.

Ever since Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress began their dharna outside the project site to demand the return of 400 acres to farmers not willing to move out, the attendance of contractors staff had dwindled but Tata Motors had been ferrying around 1000 of its own employees to the site daily using a longer route.

The current deadlock began Thursday evening after a group of agitators held up a busload of Tata Motors employees for over three hours at one of the gates, and warned them not to come back for work.

Tata Motors decision not to send its employees for the second day had little effect on the Trinamool Congress, whose leaders said the indefinite blockade of the plant would continue.

Sources at Raj Bhavan said Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi had written to Mamata Banerjee on Saturday requesting her to find a way to resolve the Singur deadlock. The governor sent a copy of the letter to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Meanwhile, attempts to open up the Durgapur Expressway stretch of National Highway 2 outside the Nano plant site yielded no results today.

Officials of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), armed with a Calcutta high court judges order directing it to clear the Expressway, met officials of the district administration and the Trinamool Congress leader at the dharna site separately for talks.

NHAI project director Avdesh Kumar met the district magistrate and the police chief on Saturday afternoon, then called on Banerjee and her lieutenants, requesting them to keep the highway clear.

We are trying to resolve the issue, said Kumar.

The NHAI official said if the state government does not help, then the NHAI might approach the central government for help.

Police chief Rajiv Mishra said that the administration will assist the NHAI within the limits of he law.