Tatas shift executives, workers; stop work at Singur

Mumbai: Tata Motors has shifted all its executives, engineers, technocrats and workers from Singur even as work at its `Nano' project site ground to a halt following an indefinite strike called by the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress.

The company shifted out about 600-800 engineers, executives and technocrats and the 500-odd construction workers after asking them to stay away overnight, sources said.

They, however, denied the company was planning to pull out the project to manufacture the world's cheapest car 'Nano' from the state. A decision would be taken once things return to normal, it said.

"The workers and the executives were afraid and worried and our foremost priority was to ensure their safety," sources said, adding that a final view would be taken only after restoration of peace.
Sources also pointed to isolated acts of intimidation despite promises by the Trinamool Congress and the Khet Majur Samity that the protests would be peaceful and directed only at the state government.

In fact, on Thursday, protesters had tried to block a factory gate to prevent workers from leaving, perhaps sensing that they are leaving for good.

Mamata Banerjee and the Khet Majur Samity  are demanding return of the 400 acres of the total 1,000 acres acquired by the government for the Tata project, saying they have been acquired forcibly and without the consent of the farmers.

She also said her party was not against industrialisation of state, and more particularly Tata's innovative car project. The party, however, would not support forcible acquisition of fertile land from the poor farmers of the state, she said.

Mamata also blamed the state government to be partial in favoring Tata Group while opposing other corporate houses.