'Nano launch unfortunate day for West Bengal'
Kolkata (IANS): Pillorying the opposition for its "most destructive" agitation that forced Tata's Nano project out of West Bengal, the state government Monday said the launch of the small car in far-off Mumbai was an "unfortunate day" for the state. Mamata Banerjee, whose Trinamool Congress-led agitation had forced the project out, said she couldn't care less.
Speaking to the media, a crestfallen state Industries Minister Nirupam Sen said: "It (the small car) was supposed to have been launched here. It was a sensational international event which could not happen in our state. It is an unfortunate day for Bengal."
Ms. Banerjee on Monday said she was not bothered by the event and lost her cool with journalists for asking whether she now regretted her campaign that forced the world's cheapest car out of West Bengal.
"We don't care for Nano. That is not our business. We ignore it," Ms. Banerjee said when asked by mediapersons for her reactions to the Nano launch.
Mr. Sen rued that the "irresponsible action" by the opposition had tarnished the state's image before the nation and the world, saying the loss of Nano had jolted the state's industrial progress.
"As a result of the most destructive movement of the state's main opposition, the momentum which the state had gathered in industrialisation and the attention it was drawing from the national and international arena, has got a jolt," he said.
"The dreams of the younger generation for a better future lie shattered. I don't know how far they (the opposition) have been able to achieve success, and for which benefit they were doing this. Nowhere in India is such kind of destructive politics practised," said the minister, one of those whose untiring efforts had brought the Nano to West Bengal's Singur.
"I hope they will reconsider such destructive politics in future. All political parties should act properly so that the state can hold its head high," he said, sitting at the state headquarters here of the ruling Left Front major Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI(M)).
In a message to the people of Singur, Sen said: "I particularly feel bad for them. They had cherished a dream. But the way Tatas have been driven out, it has actually shattered their dream".
Following a sustained agitation by Trinamool Congress-led farmers against what they called forcible acquisition of farmland for the project, the Tatas wound up their Nano plant in Hooghly district's Singur and relocated it to Sanand in Gujarat last year.
Ms. Banerjee, however, was unrepentant.
"Why? We are not bothered whether it is Nano or No-No. We can't interfere in their business. I am not a partner," she said, raising her decibel level.
"You can't ignore the interests of common people there (in Singur) whose land was forcibly taken by the government," she maintained.
Keeping in mind the approaching Lok Sabha polls, Sen said the people of the state will give a befitting reply to the opposition for its negative politics.
To a query as to whether the consecutive defeats of the state's ruling front in recent assembly and village council elections implied that people were opposed to its industrial policy, Sen said poll results could not be the yardstick to judge if people were pro or anti-industrialisation.
Cocking a snook at the opposition's slogan of "Food for all and work for all", the minister wondered how this could be possible without industrialisation.
The minister said after the Tatas dismantle the plant in Singur, 40 kms from here, by the year-end, the state government will set up another factory on the acquired land.
He also suggested the media to ask the Gujarat government through the Right to Information (RTI) Act as to what concessions it has given to Tata Motors for setting up the Nano facility at Sanand.
Asked whether Tata Motors will come back to Singur, he said: "As (Tata Group chief) Ratan Tata said today, they are not averse to investing in West Bengal."
"The group has so many investments in the state. Considering the present economic scenario and other factors, I think if the situation becomes congenial they will invest in the state," Mr. Sen maintained.