Foreign Media and Nano

Mamta mayn’t realize but she is helping many of the automakers world over who got amazed and somewhat scared after the showcasing of Nano at auto shows from Delhi to Detroit and the great applauses it received. Tata Motors and so the country had an opportunity to get into the group of automating countries with its own product with global appeal. Tata Motors did a wonderful job of getting the construction work started fast and was almost readying to get into the market commercially by October 2008. And then came a female monster that surrounded the horizon of Singur and forced Tata Motors to stop the construction and commissioning work at Rs 15,000-crore plant.

The Singur has by now become a known name all over the world for wrong reasons. Be it Knowledge Wharton, New York Times, Washington Post, Business Week, Economist, all covered this impasse that has created a nightmare for the government as well as the people of West Bengal in particular. The subject has become one of the favourite hot topics for media to write. While Knowledge Wharton debates ‘West Bengal’s Nano Impasse: A Roadblock for Tata – and for Investment, New York Times generalizes with a headline ‘India Grapples With How to Convert Its Farmland Into Factories‘. Business Week that had storied ‘Tata’s Nano: An Ingenious Coup‘, and called for ‘Learning from Tata’s Nano‘ reports ‘Why Indian Farmers Are Fighting Tata’s Nano’. Economist also covers ‘Nano war‘ with interest. ‘Nano, Singur, and Mamta’ is still keeping many media persons busy and at toe for ‘what next’. Many a times, these reports appear to be pretty biased to me, but with a free press, India can’t help the damage it causes.

Tata Motors and its vendors that were constructing the integrated manufacturing facilities in Singur to produce the cheapest car of the world has suffered the immense loss, not only in money terms but also in the delay to put Nano in the market. Unfortunately neither Mamta has the width or depth of the statesmanship to understand the damage she has already caused to the country nor the people of West Bengal and the government have the moral strength and perhaps the will to win over Mamta.

It is not that Tatas and engineers can’t launch Nano in market from its other facilities, but they must be cursing Mamta for the mental agony of this unexpected challenge to get into launch from another facility of Tata Motors. And the Devils must be laughing. It has certainly delayed the planned scale of production of Nano.

Car manufacturing particularly a new model is a difficult task. It’s not a software creation. It needs getting huge number of machinery and equipment from all the best sources in the world. It requires a lot of tryout exercises and initial runs for debugging the manufacturing processes to meet the tact time and quality output. It requires on-the-job training specific to the model. It is unfortunate that hardly few in the opposition and even in the government at the center understand it.
One can hardly expect the people at large to understand this. However, why should Mamta and her henchmen appreciate the trouble till they can keep the crowd intact with emotional exploitations? And even if they wish to withdraw the agitation, there will emerge some other groups in Singur, be it leftists or Naxalites to carry on some or the other so-called democratic protest making the lives of employees miserable and its own purpose served.

And unfortunately after spending the whole life in automobile industry, I can’t detach myself from Nano and Singur even when I am having the best days of my life here in this wonderful home of Shannon-Anand in pollution-free pleasing Pleasanton, California with sweet Emma and beautiful surrounding along with good food without any input from me unlike that in Noida.

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