Industry, led by Sunil Mittal, supports Tata’s Nano project

August 29th, 2008 - 9:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) Leading industrialists and industry lobbies Friday rallied behind Tata Motors Chairman Ratan Tata over the political siege laid by the Trinamool Congress to the auto major’s Nano small car factory at Singur in West Bengal.The support comes two days after Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani said the agitation was creating a fear psychosis in the industry.

In a statement Friday, Bharti group chairman and chief executive officer Sunil Bharti Mittal said it would be unfortunate for the country and would hamper industrialisation if the Tatas pulled out of Singur.

“If the House of Tatas, known for its values and care for the society, can face such resistance, the much needed fresh wave of industrialisation in the country could suffer,” Mittal said.

Backing his concern was Venu Srinivasan, chairman and managing director of two wheeler major TVS Motor Co, who said industrialisation is imperative for India’s progress.

Workers did not turn up for duty the Nano factory Friday, after agitators opposing the project began to threaten them, an official spokesperson said.

It’s a claim that has been conceded by the police.

Agitators, led by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, have gone on an indefinite demonstration in front of the factory site since Sunday, demanding that about 400 acres, which had been acquired for the Tata project from farmers unwilling to part with their land, be returned to them.

In his statement, Mittal called the Nano a ‘World Car’, and said immediate political dialogue is the need of the hour and a solution to keep the project within Bengal is crucial.

Echoing his sentiment, Srinivasan said stalling of the project was unfortunate.

“Considering the national importance of this project, it would be unfortunate if political considerations come in the way of India’s progress,” he said.

Automobile industry lobby, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) appealed to the stakeholders to arrive at an early resolution of the conflict as the project is under global limelight.

“The progress of the investment is such that the factories have been built and therefore it is important to find a solution that does not adversely affect the investments made and most importantly the overall competitiveness and viability of the project,” the SIAM statement said.

Ambani, in a statement Wednesday, said a fear psychosis was being created which will be counter-productive for the country’s economic growth, as well as its ability to attract foreign investments.”

Protesters claim that of the total of 997.11 acres of land acquired for the project, only around 690 acres belonged to farmers who gave their land willingly.

A statement released by Tata Motors Friday said it was ‘assessing the situation’ in West Bengal at the moment before taking any action.

More than 600 engineers and executives of Tata Motors remained trapped for three hours inside the factory Thursday evening after agitators, led by farmer leader Anuradha Talwar, squatted on the Durgapur Expressway near the gate leading to the factory.

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