Tata’s exit will be setback for West Bengal: Industry

August 22nd, 2008 - 9:02 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 22 (IANS) The exit of auto major Tata Motors from West Bengal on account of political unrest over the Nano car project in Singur will send wrong signals to investors, Indian industry lobbies here said Friday.They said while some groups had lined up investments of over Rs.20 billion in the state, a pullout by the Tatas would jeopardise West Bengal’s chances of attracting investments in future.

The industry lobbies reacted after Tata group chairman Ratan Tata earlier in the day warned that his group would not hesitate to move its small car project out of Singur if violence persisted.

“It is for Calcutta (Kolkata) to decide if we are to be an unwanted resident or a good corporate citizen of West Bengal,” Tata told reporters here after a series of meetings with top officials and ministers in the state government.

“We cannot operate in this environment,” the soft-spoken chairman of one of India’s largest industrial houses said.

Tata found support among industry groups, with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) backing it.

“Any adverse development with regard to the upcoming Tata Motors Nano plant in Singur, will irreversibly hamper the future industrialisation in West Bengal and could take the state back to an age of industrial vacuum,” CII director general Chandrajit Banerjee said in a written statement.

“Industrialisation is critical for the development of social infrastructure as also rural development,” Banerjee added.

‚ÄúPeace, law and order and stability are all pre-requisites for industrial investments. Therefore, a process of dialogue ensuring peace is an imperative,” he said.

“If the Tatas are forced to pull out of the Singur project in West Bengal, it would ruin industrial growth in the state completely,” said Assocham president Sajjan Jindal.

“It would be a clear case of vindictive politics, forcing the Tatas to pull out of West Bengal,” Jindal said in a written statement.

According to him, this would send wrong signals to investors and “take the state back to the ’70s era when West Bengal witnessed an exodus of industrial units”.

Echoing similar sentiments, Ficci said no industry should be caught in a political crossfire that will force it to abandon projects.

“This will create problems for the state not only in the present, but in attracting investment in future,” Ficci said in a written statement.

It said it is imperative that disputes are sorted out “once and for all as no industry can function with fear”.

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