Short of an official announcement, the Nano has driven out of Bengal. Over the past seven days Tata Motors has ferried out components of several hundred cars and most importantly, dies, out of the Singur factory.
The ferrying out of the dies points out that Tata Motors is not envisaging production at the plant. Dies are used to make side panels, roofs, bonnet from metal sheets in a press shop and are regarded as the first step in any car assembly line.
The exercise that began around September 16 continued this week. This follows days of unrest near the plant by people who wanted their land back. Work on the project was suspended earlier this month. By Tuesday afternoon substantial materials and tools had been shipped out. It was learnt that the authorities have ordered dismantling the shed of the assembly line.
The Mumbai-based shed manufacturer received a letter from the Tatas on Tuesday asking them to dismantle the shed.
While the Tatas have stopped short of an official announcement, West Bengal industry department officials have been steadily raising their pitch over the past 10 days that there was no way to stop the Tatas taking a reverse leap of faith out of Bengal.
Almost all machinery including robotic arms that were supposed to assemble the Nano in the main assembly line, engine shop, mini paint shop and press shop have already been shifted out.
The Tatas, as well as construction firm Sapoorji-Pallonji and vendor units like Door India Ltd or TCF Metal Forming, have asked sub-contractors to prepare their bills and promptly submit for payment.
The payment, too, has begun.
“We had requested the Tatas to allow us to take out our machineries and materials that were held up inside the plant compound for the past one month. They have finally agreed and gave us permission to ferry them out,” a local contractor said.
Civil construction firm Sapoorji-Pallonji has also started taking out their materials and machineries.
Employees of Caparo Group, Swaraj Paul’s company, visited WBIDC on Wednesday to inform them that they were leaving Singur, taking all the materials with them.
Before the materials, the men had left. A few newly recruited trainees of Tata Motors as well as Tata Ryerson and Tata Johnson who were supposed to work at the Singur plant are about to leave for Pune.