Investment in Bengal only if there is no hostility: Tata

August 30th, 2011 - 10:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, Aug 30 (IANS) The Tata Group will invest in West Bengal only if it is satisfied that the state government has no hostility towards it, the conglomerate’s chairman Ratan Tata said Tuesday.

“There is a need for satisfying ourselves that there is no hostility towards us. When we feel that way, we will undoubtedly, like anywhere else, invest in the state,” Tata said at the annual general meeting of the group’s beverage company here.

About investments in Bengal, Tata said: “I cannot comment on new investments except that we have several investments today in the state. New investments will come when opportunities arise. At present we don’t have any but there is nothing negative.”

“The feeling for West Bengal calls us to look at setting up the Nano plant (in Singur) and increase investment in the state,” he added.

“And we did that not because we had any ulterior motive other than the fact that industries had ignored this part of the country and we thought that was why we should be here…In many ways, we have a fondness for the people of Bengal. That feeling for Bengal still exists,” said Tata.

“The fact that we have a hospital (Tata Medical Centre, Kolkata) and invested close to Rs.300 crore is a reflection of our affection. 50 percent of the beds are going to be free,” he said.

He added that the hospital can bring Kolkata into limelight in terms of cancer research because it would bring doctors back to the state.

“So there are no bad feelings,” he said.

On the possibility of an out of court settlement on the Singur land case, Tata said: “It is sub-judice and I don’t think I can make a statement. There is an ordinance that has been enacted and we have said that allocation of land should not be done before the court decides.”

“The land does not belong to us. We leased the land from the government of West Bengal. It happened to be a different government here from the one you have today. We got the land from the legal government of the state that gave us the land. We were lessees. We were very pleased with it,” he added.

The company’s move to set up a car plant in Singur had to be scrapped after persistent and often bloodied agitation led by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee against alleged forcible acquisition of land for the project by the then Left Front government.

Immediately after coming to power, Banerjee passed the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, scrapping the land lease given to Tata Motors and evicting the company from the premises at Singur.

The act has been challenged by the company and the matter is pending before the Calcutta High Court.

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