Gujarat joins race to get Nano project

August 26th, 2008 - 8:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, Aug 26 (IANS) Gujarat has invited Tata Motors to relocate its Rs.15-billion ($375 million) Nano Car project to the state from West Bengal, a senior government official said here Tuesday.”We made the offer to the Tatas to relocate long before any other state. But we are yet to hear from them,” the industries department official told IANS requesting anonymity.

A raft of states started wooing Tata Motors ever since trouble broke out at Nano’s Singur project site in West Bengal last week over agricultural land acquired from farmers for the auto plant.

Gujarat now joins this list that comprises Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Haryna.

Gujarat industries minister Saurabh Patel did not directly confirm the development, but said: “We always welcome investments by big industry groups in Gujarat. In fact, the state is ready 365 days a year for fresh investments.”

But sources in the Sachivalaya - the administrative seat of the government - feel that even if the states intensify efforts to win over Tata Motors, the auto major may not be willing to move out of Singur.

This, because West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has categorically said acquired land would not be returned.

“In all these cases, a solution is usually found,” officials here said.

Sunil Parekh, a former director of CII-Gujarat and now a business consultant, said even if Tata Motors decide to move out, the preferred destination would be Orissa.

“Labour costs will be low and it is easy to procure steel from Jamshedpur. The Tatas are also developing a port in Orissa,” Parekh said.

The Tata group is developing an all-weather deep port on river Dhamra in Orissa in association with Larsen and Toubro.

It has floated a joint venture - the Dhamra Port Company Ltd (DPCL) - to execute the Rs.24.6 billion project that will have 13 berths to handle over 83 million tonnes of cargo annually.

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