Is Tata making a quiet exit?
Senior West Bengal bureaucrats claim that the company has been taking dyes and components out of Singur to an undisclosed site, report Avijit Ghosal & Subhendu Maiti.autos Updated: Sep 21, 2008 01:18 IST
Tata Motors has quietly started shifting materials out of the Singur project site, said senior West Bengal bureaucrats. They claim the company has been taking dyes and components out of Singur to an undisclosed site.
According to sources, it started on September 16 and was complete by September 19. Initially, the shifting was carried out at night, but later the firm shed all secrecy. Besides dyes, components for a few hundred cars have reportedly been shifted out, but when asked, a Tata Motors spokesperson offered a terse “No comments”.
Company officials, when confronted by government officials, however, said the dyes were being shifted to a location where they “could be put to use.” The shifting of dyes was greeted with alarm as dyes are used in press shops to make designated car parts.
If dyes are taken out, it points to a simple fact – the company is not envisaging production at the site.
The Tata Motors management is also reluctant to import machineries required for Nano at Singur. It is learnt that the company has already asked various agencies not to supply machineries to Singur.
A senior official of the commerce and industry department said the Tatas have asked the agencies to supply the machineries only to the Pune and Uttarakhand plants. The machinery supply to Singur has been suspended for an indefinite period. The official said, “This is clear indication that there is 95 per cent chance of pulling out the small car project from Bengal.”
Government sources also said the materials have been moved out of the main gate. Though the Tatas haven't yet formally announced the decision to pull out, they’ve been making all sorts of overtures suggestive of a withdrawal.
However, company’s managing director Ravi Kant has confirmed that they were exploring other sites. The shifting of materials, therefore, didn't come as a surprise to government officials, who have now come to accept the situation.
While for the past few weeks almost every effort of the Tatas and the government had been directed towards mounting pressure on Mamata Banerjee, the shifting move will surely add to the pressure on her to call off stir.