After the Singur land verdict by the Supreme Court, the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal is now looking to woo Tata Motors, and is offering to give land for an industrial hub to the company. It was Trinamool Congress (TMC) protests in 2008, that had forced Tata Motors to abandon its plans for setting up a Nano factory in Singur. Now, the state finance minister Amit Mitra has said that an alternative for the Singur land is “ready”. According to an Indian Express report, the Mamata Banerjee government is offering land options in Goaltore, Purulia, Bardhaman and Kharagpur.
Mitra, according to the report, has said that land bank and a land map are ready. “We can also give 1,000 acres in Goaltore in West Midnapore. In Raghunathpur in Purulia, 2,600 acres of land is ready,” Mitra has said. “We had kept the land for a railway corridor, but we have also kept 600 acres of land for industry separately,” he said. However, if the Tata group is “serious”, the government is willing to offer the area for an industrial hub,” Mitra is reported to have said. While around 800 acres of land is available in Kharagpur, 700 acres is up for offer in Panagarh area of Bardhaman. Mitra has also said that Tata Steel or Tata Metaliks can set up an industry in the state. “It is not obligatory that Tata Motors has to do business there,” Mitra has said.
It appears that the state government is not in a position to pay compensation in cash to Tata Motors, but is ready to give land to Tata Motors and also offer a host of business-friendly measures. The compensation angle comes as part of a clause in the land lease agreement of 2007 between the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation and Tata Motors. The corporation had indemnified the company against losses that could arise from an imperfect title of the land.
Incidentally, it was the Singur agitation that marked the run-up to the end of 34 years of Left Front rule in the state. In that sense it holds a special significance in West Bengal’s political equations. Banerjee will today hold a “victory” rally in Singur today to celebrate the Supreme Court order that cancelled the Singur land acquisition. Recently, during her visit to Munich, Mamata Banerjee reached out to the executives of Tata Metaliks and Tata Steel India, urging the group to “forget” one piece of land, while others are available.