I am sure all those who are closely following the story that started with the media report of Tata Steel’s historic take over of Corus and the resulting celebration of a sort in media must be getting disheartened with every media report about the possibility of Tata Steel loosing the race. Brazil’s Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN) raised its offer to 515-pence-a-share and announced that in case Tata Steel outbids it, CSN can go further high.
Some expert opined that Tata Steel could stretch its balance sheet to the extent of $10 billion, which would amount to nearly 550 pence a share, without hurting its shareholders’ interest. But many don’t advise this adventure.
Should Tata Steel go for that high a price? Should Tata Steel walk away from the race with its break-up fee of $91 million, if CSN bids anything beyond 550 pence a share?
I have a different view. Why can’t Tata Steel with its strategists think of taking over CSN too? It is certainly stretching a little too far. With CSN already holding 3.8% share of Corus, CSN has certain advantage in the race. But perhaps in war of this sort, one is to be real offensive to win even at some extra cost of it.
Further, can’t some consortium of Indian steel manufacturers group together and buy CSN?
Latest Will Tata get Corus?
Nalanda Becomes Brand Bihar
I was skectical about the Nalanda International University project when I made my entry ‘Can International Nalanda University Get Materialized? that also appeared on the website of Bihar Times.’
But got excited when I went through NKSingh and Jessica S Wallack article, ‘Nalanda as an innovation hub’ in The Financial Express, Saturday, December 16, 2006 issue. As it seems, NK Singh happens to be the chief coordinator of the project.
Plans for the university have been discussed at high-level meetings between China and India, India and Japan, and most recently at a multi-country interaction in Singapore, which had President Abdul Kalam participating via teleconference, sharing his views and vision for the Nalanda of tomorrow. The university would have been on the agenda of the postponed Pan Asia Summit at Cebu.
And then I could reach the article, ‘Really Old School’ by the former Dean of the Yale School of Management Jeffrey Garten in ‘New York Times’ as well as ‘International Herald Tribune’ on December 9, 2006.
At a summit meeting of leaders next week in the Philippines, senior officials from India, Singapore, Japan and perhaps other countries are scheduled to discuss the revival of an ancient university in India called Nalanda. It is a topic unlikely to receive much mention in the Western press. But no one should underestimate the potential benefits of this project to Asia, or the influence it could have on Asia’s role in the world, or the revolutionary impact it could make on global higher education.
Founded in 427 in northeastern India, not far from what is today the southern border of Nepal, and surviving until 1197, Nalanda was one of the first great universities in recorded history. It was devoted to Buddhist studies, but it also trained students in fine arts, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, politics and the art of war.
The university was an architectural and environmental masterpiece. It had eight separate compounds, 10 temples, meditation halls, classrooms, lakes and parks. It had a nine-story library where monks meticulously copied books and documents so that individual scholars could have their own collections. It had dormitories for students, perhaps a first for an educational institution, housing 10,000 students in the university’s heyday and providing accommodations for 2,000 professors. Nalanda was also the most global university of its time, attracting pupils and scholars from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey.
A consortium led by Singapore and including India, Japan and others will discuss raising the $500 million needed to build a new university in the vicinity of the old site and perhaps another $500 million to develop the roads and other infrastructure to make the institution work. The problem is that the key Asian officials are not thinking big enough. There is more talk about making Nalanda a cultural site or a center for philosophy than a first-rate modern university.
The rebuilt university should strive to be a great intellectual center, as the original Nalanda once was…..
The original Nalanda might have been the first to conduct rigorous entrance exams. The old university had world-class professors who did groundbreaking work in mathematical theorems and astronomy. It produced pre-eminent interpreters and translators of religious scriptures in many languages.
The new Nalanda should try to recapture the global connectedness of the old one… A new Nalanda, starting as it will from scratch, could set a benchmark for mixing nationalities and cultures, for injecting energy and direction into global subjects and for developing true international leaders.
It appears the dream coming true and with one this project Bihar can rebuild its lost image and glory lost in the pages of the history. Bihar can be prosperous too because of the limitless possibility of investment that can, in proper hand, can go to any amount, even $100 billion.
I dream of a 8- or 10- lane Super Expressway corridor from Lumbini to Boddh Gaya via Vaisalli, Nalanda and Rajgrih with Nalanda as the center of the major attraction with the 21st Century University City of 10,000 teachers and 1,00,000 students from almost all countries of the world studying, teaching, and reasearching the latest knowledge about all the contemporary and futuristic subjects covering arts, sciences, commerce, medicines, law, and technologies.
Can Nalanda get a visionary and missionary to see the project realized?
Singur Story- Where Buddha Went Wrong?
In February this year when I was in Kolkata, I got the chance of hearing some of the lectures that the Bidhannagar Mela sponsors arranged. I was amazed. I heard some of the leftist intellectual and political leaders selling the ideas of the state government about the agricultural land acquisitions for industrial development of Bengal. It was a proactive action from the party. It was very much in line with the demand of the day and place. As such, the political parties and its cadre play a major role in everything in West Bengal.
Buddha Babu tried to sell his ideas of building a changed image of Bengal by investor friendly-steps to his cabinet members and party men. Many were sold, but some old and shrewd hardliners didn’t digest his ideas. Buddha Babu knows it but can’t confess publicly. They (CITU, CPM, and cabinet) pretended to agree with the fast track transformation activities of the chief minister, but the differences were there. Moreover, Buddha Babu didn’t show his statesmanship to bring Mamta on his side in his effort to change the industrial development of Bengal. He would have tried to take care of her ego by going to her once or twice for the sake of the future of the state. He would have lost anything in process. He would have convinced that whatever he is doing is for the interest of Bengal and its people and not for his party and cadre. Moreover, when he agreed for the handing over the land at Singur to Tata Motors, he would have realized that Singur was in a Mamta’s party own constituency.
Secondly, Buddha Babu would not have agreed to the demand of Tata Motors for so huge a land area in hurry and that too from a three-crop fertile region and would have consulted experts. If Hindustan Motors could build its huge plant in early 50s in marshy land at Hind Motors (Uttarpara), why can’t Tata Motors build its plant on similar land that was available in Singur itself as suggested by Mamta Banerji to break the stalemate today? Why should it appear that he is going all the way out even neglecting the interest off the local people to help the industrial house? Buddha Babu has his strong cadre force of the party and the whole of the government machinery to help him but its strength should not be used for everything and so blatantly.
Unfortunately, Tata Motors didn’t play a very positive role in the conflict. Even though it selected the plots from the choices offered by the West Bengal government, it would have applied its own commonsense and shown its social responsibility for which it has a name. Tata Motors would have agreed to technical solutions and on its own, preferred waste and marshy land for the plant instead of preferring for the fertile land under cultivation.
Again, Tata Motors would have used its resources to sell the project among the local people along with Buddha Babu’s men. Tata group being the master in developing programme for the local community could have sold the project very easily to the people.
According to Mamta Banerji, about 450 acres of low-lying land is available at Singur itself, unutilised, on the opposite side of the road. She wants the government to restore to the owners plots, claimed as acquired ‘forcibly’ and to utilise the unused low-lying land beside the highway at Singur.
I am sure no one wants Tata Motors to abandon the project in Singur or to shift out. But there is nothing wrong in agreeing to Mamta Banerji suggestion if it is technically feasible.