West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday urged Tata Motors to forget about “problem in one place” without naming Singur, and asked them to invest in West Bengal. She, however, made the appeal to the company at a business conclave in Germany’s Munich.
Her statement put expert on the spot as they could never imagine that the chief minister would chose an international business forum to make an appeal to Tata. It came at a time when the West Bengal government is chalking out strategy to demolish the Singur factory according to her instruction following a Supreme Court verdict which had termed the land acquisition in Singur for Nano car plant illegal.
“This is quite impractical. On one hand, she said she would never involve the government in land acquisition for industries, but on the other, she is inviting business groups to invest. How would they deal with farmers? They would have to deal with mafias. I am not talking specifically about Tata, but no business group will invest in Bengal if the chief minister does not change her policy,” said economist Amal Mukherjee.
Mamata sought to reduce the fear in the mind of international groups when she described the incident at one place (without naming Singur) as a separate issue. She also invited German auto giant BMW to open their shops in West Bengal.
However, the chief minister stuck to her point that the land would be given from the land bank of the state government. She said West Bengal is logistically a better place in India than any other state.
“The land bank was initiated long back during the left rule. But almost 90 per cent of the land of that land bank is in faraway place where the industrialist would not like to go due to lack of opportunity and communication,” said Mukherjee.
Meanwhile, power minister Sovona Deb Chattaopadhya admitted that a section of unwilling farmers of Singur had changed their mind and wanted industrialisation in their area.
“We have learnt their change of mind. Let the chief minister come back and I will discuss the issue with her,” said the minister.