Tata Motors’ Final Ta..Ta.. To Singur

Ultimately Buddha looses his brave war against Mamta. Tata Motors has finally abandoned Singur, the place that could have become the Detroit. Ratan Tata rightly refused to work under police protection promised by Buddha. It is not practically possible, as Tata claimed, because of ‘the continued aggression and agitation by the Opposition led by Mamata’. I am sorry for the region that could have become prosperous and the young men who could have been employed. I am really surprised and shocked to read what Tata said at the briefing, “If someone had put the gun to my head I would not move away but I think Banerjee has pulled the trigger.” I consider Tata as a wonderfully great gentleman. What made him say so?

Unfortunately Mamta is still not sorry about it and considers Tata’s decision as ‘a part of the joint game plan of the CPM and the Tatas’. Will the people affected keep on tolerating such political terrorism?

The people and leadership of Bengal must take it seriously. They must say ta..ta… to their unique invention years ago of violent agitations of different forms in name of democratic protest that has spread all over the country now, otherwise the entrepreneur will dare not come to West Bengal to get run its establishment on the dictate of party or union goons. The government at the center must also look into the land policy and labour laws more seriously and on top priority, otherwise it can’t stop the industrialists to go for investments in foreign acquisitions rather than trying to come up with Greenfield projects of large scale inside the country. The national interest must be above the crazy political principles.

Tata Motors did a smart job by removing the dies and dedicated equipment meant for Nano manufacturing in time from the plant site. Perhaps it was possible with the government of West Bengal on its side. Otherwise the agitators would have obstructed that operation that could have made the production of Nano difficult. Perhaps Mamta would never have dreamt it. After all, she has never been that intelligent.

I get a veiled joy. I have been writing on the subject for a long time. Right in the beginning I expressed my utter amazement to Tata’s decision to come to Bengal. I had also written against excessive amount of land demand by Tata. That was on my first hand experiences of West Bengal. Bengal has hardly changed. The name of the political party taking the lead might have changed. I still get scared when I see red flags fluttering high in large numbers, wall full with posters of all kind of agitations even in Sector 5 of Salt Lake that houses prestigious IT companies, or processions of people in the streets carrying all types of banners all over the years.

However, I still feel Tata Motors and for that matter all the industrial plants must try to keep the requirement of land at the minimum even for the greefield locations. Plant designers must innovate. They must go high. The plant must preferably not take fertile land to locate large plant. Tata Motors in Pantnagar is also on a very fertile land that was taken away from the GB Pant Agricultural University.

I still think Tata Motors should keep Singur plant with it and have an assembly plant of Nano in it some day sooner or later. East India with Bihar, Orissa, Assam and Northeastern states must and will certainly grow fast and will be a good market for Nano.

Overall the Singur episode is a black spot on the country’s endeavour to get ahead in manufacturing sector. Nano is a prestigious product with potential to get globally accepted. Politicians have again failed India.

It is great that Tata still promises to try to be as close to the deadline as possible for the production launch of Nano.
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PS May 18, 2006 – October 3, 2008
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