The Indian car maker Tata has suspended work at the factory it has been building to make the world’s cheapest car – the Nano – and Chief Executive Ratan Tata said he is looking at alternative sites for the plant.
The announcement is because of a row over the site with the local opposition party backing protests by some farmers against land seizures for the factory.
The issue has divided people in West Bengal, with some welcoming the jobs the plant would bring.
One woman said she was counting on it for her family’s future: “I gave up my land for this project. My son was being trained to work there. Now I learn that Tata’s decided to pull out of here; I am very sad, we would have benefited from this plant.”
Many farmers have complained that the authorities forced them off their land to make way for the factory offering little compensation, but others have flocked to the area to find work. One man said: “I have been training for a job at the Tata factory. There are many young people like me, who’ve come here from elsewhere to be trained, and now our dreams have been shattered.”
Tata has spent 240 million euros on the plant. Its threat to move it comes after weeks of protests and clashes between supporters and opponents.
The first Nanos – designed to supply India’s ever increasing appetite for cars – are supposed to reach showrooms in October.