Tatas to decide on Nano plant’s new site next week (Second Lead)

October 5th, 2008 - 11:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Oct 5 (IANS) Tata Motors Ltd would decide in a week on relocating the Nano manufacturing plant at Dharwad in north Karnataka from Singur in West Bengal after studying similar location offers in other states, Karnataka state industries minister Murugesh Nirani said late Sunday.Tata Motors managing director G. Ravi Kant, who inspected two sites adjacent to the company’s existing facility near Dharwad, about 420 km from here, told Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa that he would get back in a week and arrange a meeting with group chairman Ratan Tata.

“Kant told the chief minister a decision to relocate the integrated plant near Dharwad or in other states would be communicated to him by next week. He also assured the chief minister a meeting with Tata,” Nirani told IANS from Dharwad by phone.

Sounding upbeat on the prospects of the state getting the Rs.15 billion ($750 million) Nano project, Nirani said besides land (about 1,000 acres), water and power, the state has agreed to provide whatever facilities, including concessions if any were required for the plant.

“We are positive of getting the Nano project, as the Tata group is already operating in the Belur industrial area, about 20 km from Dharwad, to manufacture construction/earth-moving equipment by Telcon and luxury buses in a joint venture with Marcopolo of Brazil. A Nano plant there will be strategic with many advantages, as the location is on the Bangalore-Pune national highway (4),” Nirani, an engineering graduate with an MBA, pointed out.

Admitting that it was up to the Tatas to decide on the relocation, Nirani said it was difficult to guess what decision they would take as they had to keep their business interests too.

“The state is doing its best to get the project. We have shown the locations where the plant can be set up. Most of the land (to be acquired) is barren or where only a single crop is grown,” Nirani said.

“We have spoken to farmers, land-owners and local body (panchayat) leaders. The compensation will be decided on the market price. There is consensus among the local people to give the land for such a project, which has a lot of socio-economic benefits to reap,” Nirani affirmed.

The state-run Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) has already acquired about 500 acres of land and will acquire 1,000 acres more for the Tata project and other industries.

Earlier, after inspecting the two possible locations, Kant and three executives held an hour-long meeting with Yeddyurappa, Nirani and top officials to assess the project requirement and other related issues.

“The chief minister highlighted the advantage of locating the plant near Dharwad in terms of road, rail and air connectivity, its salubrious climate, peaceful industry-labour relations, peaceful socio-political environment and a centre of education,” Nirani added.

Kant also informed the chief minister that the decision of the Tatas to shift from Singur - where they faced protests from farmer groups and the Trinamool Congress - was final and the company was on the look out for an alternative site.

As several states came forward to offer land and other facilities to relocate the plant, the company was examining the proposals for a final decision soon.

Billed as the world’s most inexpensive car at Rs.100,000, Nano was to be rolled out from the company’s Singur plant later this month.

Prolonged agitation led by Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee and farmers who refused compensation for giving up their lands and unrest forced the Tatas to pull out of Singur.

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