An Open Letter To MD, Tata Motors

Dear Mr. Ravikant,

I saw on one of the TV news channels today a group of women demonstrating in front of Tata Centre, Kolkata against the land acquisitions from the farmers of Singur for your project. You may take it a mad Mamta’s move, but as a technocrat we must give a serious thought to the issue. As I know, you are also from IIT, I think you can understand and appreciate the feelings of another alumnus. My reasoning is entirely technical based on industrial engineering practices with no political bias.

I am myself an IITian of Kharagpur (1957 Mechanical Engineering). I spent whole of my life learning manufacturing and management of automobile industry only. While working for Hindustan Motors, for your information, I did carried out an educational programme too for general manufacturing and then on gear cutting for your managers at Tata Motors’ Jamshedpur plant in 1993 that was well appreciated.

I am amazed by the decision of Tata Motors to locate its prestigious Rs 1 lakh- car project at Singur (interestingly, the place is very near to the plant of Hindustan Motors, Hind Motor (Uttarpara), Dist Hooghly.

Further, I was shocked the news of Tata Motors’ requirement and then demand of 1000 acres of mullt-icrop fertile land of the farmers from the state that is in hurry to make up the damage caused by its own follies for housing the new plant.

Why should Tata Motors need so big a plot for assembling only 1lakh cars a year? I have seen car assembly plants in UK, Germany as well as in Japan manufacturing many times more cars and that also bigger ones in fraction of Tata Motors’ demanded land area.

Why can’t Tata Motors think of multistoried assembly plant construction, as the land is very precious, fertile and cultivable in its selected location?

Further, why should Tata Motors not locate the plant in marshy land lying all around? Hindustan Motors was built in early 1950s on a marshy land offered by Dr. BC Roy. Perhaps, Tata Motors would have negotiated for the unused land lying at the plant site of Hindustan Motors that it is now interested in selling for real estate to make money. Tata Motors could have taken assistance of the affable present West Bengal government to get the deal made.

Further, I learnt from a report in media today that Tatas are already holding huge land area in vicinity of Tata bearings in Kharagpur. The land is being offered to Bhushan Steel for a steel plant. Why can’t that land area be used to locate this new project of Tata Motors? Tata Motors could have many location advantages because of Tata Bearings as well as IIT, Kharagpur in proximity such as outsourcing of some of R&D activities to IIT, Kharagpur and the sources of required talent bank.

Further, Tata Motors could also think of locating the new project in Durgapur where many plants and premises are lying deserted because of the menace of leftist unions. Durgapur of today can provide many other advantages too.

Lastly, is Tata Motors convinced that work culture of West Bengal, particularly of the region around Singur and the manufacturing sector, has changed to be favourable and is conducive enough to make the location of a plant of so important project of Tata Motors justified? Is it someone so much sold to the leftist government behind the project location?

The government of West Bengal will acquire the land for Tata Motors, as it has the brute power of its party cadres, but as socially conscious business house, should not Tata rethink over the issue if there is so much of opposition?

I expect Tata Motors to put its replies to my technical queries to my email address: irsharma@gmail.com.

Indra

PS. A media reply by Ravikant

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