BHEL mulls power plant at Nano's Singur site

Left barren after the exit of Tata Motors and its Nano car plant, Singur could get a fresh lease of life from Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, which is considering setting up a 1,600 MW power plant there.

A team from BHEL visited the site on Thursday along with state government officials for a possible project with the West Bengal Power Development Corporation. S C Mittal, general manager of the state-run BHEL, was accompanied by WBPDC managing director Debashis Sen and others on the visit. The team also met Tata Motors representatives at the site.

Sen refused to divulge details, saying ''We just visited the site.'' However, West Bengal power minister Mrinal Banerjee said two projects were being considered, a power equipment unit and a super-thermal power plant of 2x800 mw. ''Singur is one of the sites being explored for the project,'' he said.

Close to a year ago, Tata Motors pulled out its Nano project from Singur after an indefinite protest led by Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, now union railway minister.

Putting a fresh damper on the revived hopes for industrial development in Singur, the union minister on Thursday was quick to reiterate her main demand, which is the return of 400 acres to unwilling land-losers, though the state government put the figure at 181 acres.

Mamata Banerjee made her party's stand clear this evening. ''The (BHEL) factory can come up on 600 acres but 400 acres have to be returned to farmers from whom land was taken forcibly,'' she told STAR Ananda from New Delhi.