Monday, March 23, 2009

Don't care for Nano or 'No-No', says agitated Mamata

As the world watched the launch of Tata Motors' Nano in Mumbai, an agitated Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee 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," Banerjee said when asked by mediapersons for her reactions to the Nano launch.

Banerjee, who had called the media to release her party manifesto for the coming Lok Sabha polls, got angry when asked whether she regretted the sustained campaign against land acquisition launched by her that forced Nano out of the state.

"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.

"You can't ignore the interests of common people there (in Singur) whose land was forcibly taken by the government," she said.

Lashing out at the journalist who posed the query, Banerjee countered: "Why are you asking this question? What interest do you have?"

Banerjee spearheaded a sustained two-and-a-half year agitation in Singur - the original site of the Nano plant - against the alleged forcible acquisition of land for the world's cheapest car project, and ultimately Tata Motors was forced to shift the factory to Sanand in Gujarat.

Tata group chief Ratan Tata in October last year had blamed Banerjee's agitation for his decision to shift the factory out of the state.

While announcing the decision to move out of Singur in Hooghly district, Tata had remarked: "What could we have done when Ms Banerjee says 'I won't allow a single Nano to roll out'? ... How do we go on with production when Ms Banerjee publicly says people of West Bengal do not want us?"

"I had said earlier that if somebody holds a trigger to my face, he will have to take the decision whether or not to pull the trigger, because I will not move away. I must say Ms Banerjee has pulled the trigger," Tata had commented.

The Trinamool Congress-led farmers had demanded return of 400 acres out of the 997.11 acres acquired in Singur, 40 km from here, alleging the land was forcibly taken by the state government from those unwilling to part with it. Tata Motors were to set up the ancillary units of the integrated project on the 400 acres.

But the Tatas, who spent Rs.15 billion in Singur, were against relocating the ancillary units, saying it would increase the production cost.

The people's car Nano is priced at Rs.100,000 at the factory gate.

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