West Bengal industrialists, common people regret Tata pull out

October 4th, 2008 - 12:18 am ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Oct 3 (IANS) Tata Motors’ decision to pull out from West Bengal is the “worst possible thing” to happen to the state, said industrialists and commoners Friday, voicing disappointment over the auto major’s decision to take its Nano small car factory elsewhere.”I am extremely depressed and disturbed at this decision. All our hopes for the project are shattered today,” Indian Chamber of Commerce president and Patton Group managing director Sanjay Budhia told IANS.

“I am still hoping against hope that something miraculous can happen. International repercussions of this decision are not at all good and will have their negative impact on future investments in the state. We have lost our face completely,” Budhia said expressing the all-round disillusionment.

Announcing the pull-out, Ratan Tata said Friday: “We have taken the regretful decision to move the Nano out of West Bengal. This is a decision that we have taken with great deal of sadness. We’ve taken this decision today because we’ve a timeline to meet and assurances to keep. We did not see any change on the horizon.”

Tata Motors took up the project to construct the factory for Nano, priced at Rs.100,000 ($2,500) in Singur, 40 km from here, a couple of years back. But it experienced constant resistance from the Trinamool Congress-led ‘unwilling farmers’. It finally suspended work Sep 2 fearing the safety of its workers.

Originally scheduled to roll out this month, the company signalled it was considering a pull-out and talking to other state governments for an alternate location following intense protests by the Trinamool Congress. The protesters had originally demanded return of 400 acres to farmers who had to part with their land for the project against their will.

“This is a sad happening. We have to think of something else now to move forward in the path of industrialization,” Harshavardhan Neotia, Ambuja Realty Development Ltd. chairman, said.

A similar concern was echoed by common people.

Nayonee, a research scholar, said: “This is not desirable. This is extremely regressive for the state. All the political parties should have acted more responsibly. It’s a failure of the political system.”

“We hoped that the project will come up here. But now that they have rolled back, we have a question to ask the state government. What will they do with the land they have acquired in Singur from us?” asked Mihir Mal, a resident of Beraberi in Singur, who lost his land for the project.

Cutting across age groups and political leanings, people of the state had hoped for industrialization.

“This is not at all good for the state. All our hopes are shattered. I have a small kid, I thought with industrialization the state will prosper and they will have a better future ahead of them. But now it seems impossible,” Malabika Chatterjee, a housewife, said.

A young banker said: “This is the worst possible thing that could happen in West Bengal at a time when industrialization is the need of the hour for the state.”

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