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Tatas pull out of Singur

Marcus Dam

We have a timeline and have made promises: Ratan Tata

— Photos: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury, Sushanta Patronobish

Moving out: Ratan Tata announces in Kolkata the “regretful decision” to shift the Nano car project out of Singur. In the picture at left, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee arrives for a 90-minute meeting with the Tata Group Chairman. In his press conference, Mr. Tata praised the investor-friendly policies of the Left Front government, but cited the Opposition agitation as the reason for pulling out.

KOLKATA: Tata Motors announced its decision on Friday to pull out from Singur in West Bengal in the interests of the Nano small car project’s success and viability and in the light of the Opposition’s continued and heightened agitation there. Work at the project site had begun in January 2007.

“We have taken the very regretful decision to move the Nano project out of West Bengal; we were left with no option … we took it with a great deal of sadness … with a lot of pain,” Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group, said after a 90-minute meeting with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee here.

The decision had to be taken despite the “investor friendly policies of the government.” “I still have a great deal of respect for the leadership of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee,” Mr. Tata told journalists. “We do not believe we have in any way lost our enthusiasm for investment in the State.”

Industries Minister Nirupam Sen said the decision “is very unfortunate for West Bengal.”

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who has been spearheading the agitation at Singur for return of land taken “forcibly” from farmers for the project, described the decision as “a joint game plan of the Tatas and the CPI(M).” She termed the pullout a “political” one and said the pact between the company and the government to set up the project was not being brought out in the open “for it had political intent.”

The decision was taken “because we do not see any change in the horizon,” Mr. Tata said. “We have a timeline to reach and have made promises to the public. We cannot let something lie in limbo.”

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