The Nano has arrived. While it reached about three weeks back, its tryst with Singur was kept hush-hush for obvious reasons. According to sources in the company who are working on the project, four of the Rs 1 lakh cars have been brought in from Maharashtra to train engineers at the Singur factory in ‘Nano technology’. The cars are likely to hit the road just ahead of Durga Puja.
According to sources, the four vehicles, mint green, blue and rust, have been brought in from the Tata Motors bodybuilding plant at Pimpri near Pune. "The cars are presently kept at the partially-finished TCF plant in Singur, where they would be assembled once the factory is operational," a senior engineer at Singur said. "The four vehicles have been stripped and re-assembled several times so that engineers at Singur get to understand how the cars need to be built."
According to the engineers, Tata Motors officials have asked the company’s civil contractor Shapoorji-Pallonji to complete construction of the TCF plant at the earliest, with its deadline set for June 30 so that the assembly line can be started.
"Due to time constraints, leaves of all employees have been cancelled till the deadline is met," a senior official from the construction company said.
Sources further pointed out that while the internal deadline for completion of assembly has been set at August so that the cars can roll out by Durga Puja, the target date is stretchable till Diwali, as has been announced by Tata chairman Ratan Tata.
The assembly line for Nano is state-of-the-art, sources said. "The system will be run completely on advanced robotics, with mechanical arms doing most of the assembly," an engineer explained.
"Engineers would be present just to oversee things, not to participate in the work manually. The total process of assembly would take 59 seconds."
Engineers at the Singur factory also said that while the car’s chasis would be built on one unit, a conveyor belt would forward the base to the bodybuilding unit, which would subsequently be forwarded to the TCF plant for final assembly and then quality checks would be conducted. "Besides the cars, several advanced heavy machineries have also arrived from Pimpri, all of which are meant to set up the assembly line."
Tata Motors spokesman Debashis Roy, however, skirted around the queries, while talking to Hindustan Times over telephone on Saturday. When asked if the four cars have been brought in from Pimpri, he said, "Possibly. These are business decisions and nothing out of the ordinary."
Without revealing anything specific, Roy said that deadline would be met. "We are working according to our calendar and things will happen as per schedule. The cars would be launched around Diwali," he said.