Nano pullout has dented West Bengal’s image: Industry

October 24th, 2008 - 12:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Oct 24 (IANS) Not only has West Bengal lost the coveted small car Nano project to Gujarat, the long-drawn political stand-off between the state government and the opposition over Singur has dented its industry-friendly image, industrialists and economists say.But while some say it will take ages for West Bengal to recover lost ground, others feel the setback is only temporary.

“It is a big loss of face for the state. Even the business community here has lost credibility,” Indian Chamber of Commerce president and Patton Group managing director Sanjay Budhia told IANS.

“After a long time, industries had started coming to the state, but now with Tata Motors leaving, the present business scenario is depressing. This is very unfortunate,” Budhia said.

“The days ahead will be very tough. It will be a Herculean task to reach out to people once again. It will take some time before we can again start everything afresh.”

Post-Independence, West Bengal had come to be known as an industrial hub, with Hindustan Motors setting up an automobile plant to manufacture the iconic Ambassador car at Uttarpara, near here.

But a flight of capital started from the 1960s during the violent anti-state Naxalite uprising, and got momentum in the 1970s during an era of militant trade unionism.

It’s only from the mid-1990s that the current communist coalition government began making a concerted move to promote industry, along with agriculture, the state’s economic mainstay.

After the Tata pullout, said economist Abhirup Sarkar, West Bengal’s entire socio-economic scenario has become fluid.

“We are in a complete mess undoubtedly. The pullout has slowed down the industrialisation process, and tarnished the industry-friendly image of the state,” he said.

“Previously also, there wasn’t any industrialisation here. But then we could claim our state to be politically stable and industry-friendly. Now we can’t even do that. This incident has worsened the industrial situation in the state,” Sarkar added.

But SREI Infrastructure Finance chairman and managing director Hemant Kanoria does not think the blow would be that hard.

“The Nano pullout will impact in the short run but I don’t think it will have any effect on business in the long run,” Kanoria told IANS.

“Industrialisation is the need of the hour and the state’s economy has enough resilience,” he said.

S. Radhakrishnan, chief executive officer of IT outsourcing firm Descon, broadly agreed with Kanoria.

“The Nano pullout definitely has made some dent on the industrialisation process, but I think the state will overcome that soon,” Radhakrishnan told IANS.

“But this pullout will definitely not have any direct impact on the IT sector,” he added.

After facing a sustained agitation for two years, Tata Motors Oct 3 announced it was pulling out its Nano project from Singur and blamed the state’s principal opposition party Trinamool Congress for the “painful” decision.

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