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Tata Motors suspends work at Singur; may shift `Nano' out of West Bengal news
02 September 2008

Ratan TataMumbai: Amidst continuing protests and intimidation of employees and the management Tata Motors today decided to suspend work on the rollout of its small car `Nano' at Singur and shift the project to some location outside West Bengal.

A decision would, however, be taken only after chairman Ratan Tata returns from Singapore.

Tata Motors said it has been constrained to suspend the construction and commissioning work at the Nano Plant at Singur in view of the continued confrontation and agitation at the site. The decision was taken in order to ensure the safety of its employees and contract labour, who have continued to be violently obstructed from reporting to work, CNBC TV18 quoted company sources as saying.

The company said it had assessed the prevailing situation in Singur, after five continuous days of cancellation of work, and had found no change in the volatile situation around the plant.

The project's auto ancillary partners, who had commenced work at their respective plants in Singur, were also constrained to suspend work in line with Tata Motors' decision.

''We are preparing a detailed plan to relocate Nano plant and machinery'', a spokesperson of Tata Motors said, adding, ''We are also evaluating alternate options to manufacture Nano.''

Tata Motors, which had engaged 4,000 workers for its Nano plant in Singur at the peak, is now thinking of options to absorb them in its other plants.

The international consultants working in Tata plant at Singur have also returned home.

The assertions by the company sources come amidst unconfirmed reports that Tata Motors may relocate its Nano plant to Pantnagar in Uttarakhand, where it already operates a plant with a capacity to roll out around 3,000 cars a day.

Several other states have extended invitation to Tata Motors for setting up a manufacturing unit. 

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, meanwhile, seems to have relented a bit and has offered to talk with the government.  After a Trinamool Congress delegation met governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi at Raj Bhavan on Sunday, Mamata Banerjee said she was agreeable to talks but the dharna would continue.

Agitators also continued to block the main entry points of the factory and the Durgapur Expressway was still blocked, leaving thousands of heavy vehicles stranded.

Banerjee, meanwhile, also opposed Tata's entry in the retail sector in West Bengal, saying ''it would spell disaster for small retailers". (See: Mamata against Tata retail venture in West Bengal)

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Tata Motors suspends work at Singur; may shift `Nano' out of West Bengal