By Anwesha Bhaumik
Kolkata, July 19 (IANS) More than a decade after forcing them to shift their planned car factory from Singur, the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal has welcomed the Tatas to make big investments in the state.
The Trinamool’s anti-land acquisition movement in Singur in Hooghly district had forced the Tatas to move their planned Nano car factory to Gujarat.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her party rode to power on the strength of the Singur and Nandigram anti-land acquisition agitations that struck a chord with the rural poor, the traditional supporters of the Left Front.
But after returning to power for a third time this year, Banerjee and her party have prioritised big ticket investments in manufacturing, taking a clue from neighboring Bangladesh.
Underscoring job creation as the Trinamool government’s top priority, Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee said on Monday that incentives will be provided to companies which invest big in West Bengal, but the nature and extent of the incentives will depend on their ability to generate employment.
He said 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.
“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),” said Chatterjee.
Government insiders said that negotiations are on with the Tatas and ‘few other groups’, but it is not yet clear what kind of projects are likely to attract investments.
“Automobiles, especially new generation electric vehicles, could be manufactured in West Bengal. Hooghly district, where the Birlas produced the Ambassador cars, is a natural venue because of the availability of local skilled manpower. Singur is also in Hooghly,” said a government insider familiar with the negotiations.
He said Bengal is also keen to attract new generation knowledge-driven industries like IT and ITES.
By Anwesha Bhaumik