‘Tatas welcome to invest in Bengal’: TMC says no enmity with group

NEW DELHI: The Trinamool Congress on Monday welcomed the Tata Group to make big investments in the state, almost a decade after anti-land acquisition movement in Singur that prompted it to shift its proposed Nano car plant to Gujarat.
Emphasising on the fact that the TMC never has any enmity with the Tatas, Bengal’s commerce and IT minister Partha Chatterjee said that Bengal is keen to attract new generation knowledge-driven industries like IT and ITES.
“We never had any enmity with the Tatas, neither did we fight against them. They are one of the most respected and biggest business houses of this country and also abroad. You can’t blame the Tatas (for the Singur fiasco),” Chatterjee said.
He also said that salt to steel business conglomerate has shown interest in setting up another Tata Centre in Kolkata to house its offices.
“The problem was with the Left Front government and its forcible land acquisition policy. Tata group is always most welcome to come and invest in Bengal,” Chatterjee, also the ruling TMC’s secretary general, told news agency PTI.
As the TMC regained power in Bengal for the third straight time earlier this year, Chatterjee said chief minister Mamta Banerjee is keen on prioritising big ticket investments in manufacturing, with job creation as the topmost priority.
The state’s industry minister further said that incentives will be provided to companies who invest big in West Bengal, but the nature and extent of the incentives will depend on their ability to generate employment.
He added the Mamata Banerjee government wants at least two large manufacturing units to be set up by any prominent industrial house in West Bengal at the earliest.
Speaking about the government’s priority areas for rapid industrialisation and employment generation, Chatterjee said setting up two major manufacturing units, specifically in the iron and steel sector, topped the list.
“Industrialisation and job creation have been the focus areas in our party manifesto. No doubt it’s a challenge as the situation across the globe is not conducive due to the Covid situation.
“Our priority right now would be to bring two big manufacturing companies which are job creators. I am speaking to various stakeholders, industry captains and officials about it. We are on the job,” he said.
Singur, once known for multiple crop farming, hogged media limelight after Tata Motors set its sight on the land to build its cheapest car Nano in 2006. The Left Front government acquired 997.11 acres along the National Highway 2 and handed it over to the company.
Mamata Banerjee, then in the opposition, called a 26- day hunger strike demanding the return of 347 acres of farmland that was “forcibly” acquired.
Despite several rounds of meetings between the TMC and the Left Front government, the issue could not be resolved and the Tatas eventually moved out of Singur to Sanand in Gujarat in 2008. The land acquired for the project was subsequently returned to farmers in 2016.
(With inputs from agencies)

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