After a long, arduous and unsuccessful battle with the opposition party over the Nano project in Singur, CPI(M)-led government in West Bengal has another battle on its hands —this time with the component suppliers of the project. And unlike the earlier battle that was fought on the ground at the Durgapur Expressway, this battle may be fought in the courtrooms of Kolkata.
Though Tata Motors, the single largest loser in the defunct project, is tight lipped on whether it will seek compensation from the state government, component suppliers are up in arms and are threatening to move to the courts if a compensation is not in the offing.
“We were invited to set up factories in West Bengal by the state government and it is their responsibility that there is no problem,” said Surinder Kapur, Chairman and Managing Director, Sona Koyo Group. “It is a sad thing as Singur has lost out, the state has lost out and ultimately the country has lost out because people everywhere else would now be very jittery.”
“As part of the industry or individually, we have to talk to Bengal government for compensation and I am also not averse to seeking legal recourse on the same.”
With Tata pulling out of the state, fate of the investments made by scores of component suppliers is sealed and Kapur’s views are echoed by all.
“This is a difficult time for us as all the investment that was made in Singur is now sunk,” said Arvind Kapur, Managing Director, Rico Auto Industries. “We are evaluating the quantum of loss incurred. We can shift the machinery and equipment but the major loss is in land and construction. It is too premature to say if we can claim a compensation but we are evaluating everything.”
Unlike Tata Motors, who were given an incentive laden offer from the state government, the vendors got nothing and were also at the epicentre of the conflict between the two political parties.
“We will be guided by Tata Motors on the issue of compensation from the state government,” said another vendor who requested anonymity.
“We stand to lose between Rs 10-12 crore and somebody has to at least partly compensate us for that. The problem was not because of us but in the cross-fire we are the worst hit.”