Tata move unfortunate for West Bengal: business community

September 2nd, 2008 - 11:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 2 (IANS) Industrialists and leading business bodies in West Bengal Tuesday termed as unfortunate Tata Motors’ decision to look at site options to manufacture the world’s cheapest car Nano, indicating a pull-out from Singur.”It will be very unfortunate if the auto major pulls out of the state. It will be a big setback for the image of the state,” said Indian Chamber of Commerce president and Patton Group managing director Sanjay Budhia.

“I, on behalf of the entire business community, urge Tata Motors to wait some more time because talks regarding the present stalemate were going towards a positive path,” Budhia told IANS.

Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industries president K.K. Nawada said big investments in the state would suffer if the Tatas leave Singur.

“It is very unfortunate. It will affect the large investments in the state. People coming from outside will be scared to come to the state,” he said.

Asked whether the chambers of commerce should have played a more pro-active role to resolve the stalemate, Nawada said: “We tried to do that. We tried to get the political parties together. I hear (Trinamool Congress chief Mamata) Banerjee was going to talk to the Tatas. After that we now hear the Tatas have backed out”.

Nawada also appealed to the company to reconsider its decision.

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (eastern region) chairman C.K. Dhanuka regretted the situation. “It is extremely unfortunate. It is high time this matter is resolved. If the Tatas go out of the state it will hamper the tempo of industrialisation.

“It will send wrong signals throughout the world. It will take the state another decade to rebuild that image. Therefore, it is imperative that the political parties find out a solution so that the factory can come up,” Dhanuka said.

Economist Abhirup Sarkar said: “Economic opportunities are being swallowed up for political interests. Both the ruling and the opposition parties should have behaved more responsibly towards the project.

“It will certainly affect the future investment in the state,” said Sarkar, who teaches at the Indian Statistical Institute here.

Tata Motors had to suspend work at its Nano factory in West Bengal’s Singur, 40 km from here, for four consecutive working days from Friday following protests by the state’s opposition parties. Agitators led by Banerjee have demanded return of land acquired from “unwilling farmers” for the project.

The company Tuesday evening signalled its readiness to pull out of the state, saying it was evaluating options.

“In view of the current situation, the company is evaluating alternate options for manufacturing the Nano car at other company facilities and a detailed plan to relocate the plant and machinery to an alternate site is under preparation,” the company said in a statement here.

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