West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made a surprising claim today, saying it was not she who had chased Tata Motors out of the state, but the CPM that was in power then. The Chief Minister was speaking in Siliguri, when she sent out a message to all industrialists to create more jobs in the state, saying there would be no discrimination against any entrepreneur in Bengal.
Ms Banerjee and her party Trinamool Congress (TMC) were catapulted to power in Bengal after the CPM-led Left Front lost the 2011 assembly elections, following the anti-land acquisition agitations in Singur and Nandigram that saw Tata Motors move their Nano car manufacturing plant from Singur to Sanand in Gujarat.
“Some people are talking rubbish these days, that I had chased away the Tatas and it’s the Tatas who are now giving jobs here. I did not chase the Tatas away. It is the CPM that had chased them away. I don’t want to make political statements here, but it was you people who tried to forcefully acquire land. We returned the land. There is no dearth of land, so why acquire land forcefully?”
She further said: “We have also done so many projects, but we did not acquire land forcefully. I want to make it clear to all industrialists here. There will be no discrimination with anyone. We want everybody to invest in Bengal.”
In 2016, the Supreme Court had termed the 2006 acquisition of nearly 1,000 acres of land in West Bengal’s Singur as illegal and void. The land was acquired by the then Left Front government for Tata Motors Ltd’s plant to build Nano, the world’s cheapest car.
While directing the state government to identify the land to be returned to the landowners, Supreme Court had said that compensation paid to landowners will not be recovered by the state government.
After coming to power in 2011, Ms Banerjee’s government passed a law to take back the land that Tata Motors had acquired in Singur.
Ms Banerjee has often said that after three successive election victories, this time, her focus is on creating more jobs in the state.
“A coach factory is coming up in Bengal. The Deocha-Pachami coal industry is one of the biggest in the state. The Tajpur Port is also coming up. We are also trying to make Hashimara a civil aerodrome. We have requested the central government multiple times to give us flights with regional connectivity. If Hashimara happens, it will be good as on one side we have Jaigaon and on the other side there’s Nepal. We are building many helipads too.”
She further said that the state government has allotted more land to Bagdogra Airport. Soon, it will be a bigger facility.