The suspension of work at the Tata Motors' Nano plant in Singur was unfortunate, but it would not deter foreign investors to India on a long-term basis, Bajaj Auto chairman Rahul Bajaj said in New Delhi on Thursday.
“It's a very unfortunate thing that has happened in Singur, but I don't think that there will be any long-term effect on India's position as an investment destination,” Bajaj told reporters here on the sidelines of the annual convention of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
“I definitely want Tata Nano to come out from Singur and I hope it will come out in October itself,” he added.
Bajaj said West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya had worked “very hard” in the last four years to secure investments in his state, and a Tata pullout could prove to be a setback for West Bengal.
To a question that he had vested interest in the issue as Bajaj Auto had plans to launch a rival small car, Bajaj retorted: “Those who say this have selfish interest or are plain stupid. Those who say this are thieves, interested parties or plain stupid.”
“I have always advocated that nobody's land should be taken without giving a fair price and against their will. I have been saying this for the last four years to the government,” he said.
“Bajaj Motors itself was set up on acquired land. I am nobody to comment against it, but all I am saying that development has to take place but at the same time, people need food security.”
“I am hoping that the meeting that will take place between Mamata's (Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's) representatives, the West Bengal government and the Governor will yield a satisfactory solution,” said Bajaj.
The government had acquired 997.11 acres of farmland in Singur, about 40 kilometres from Kolkata, and given it to Tata Motors to set up the Nano small car plant.
However, from the very onset, the project has faced resistance from various political parties over the issue of acquisition of the land.
From Aug 24, the state's principal opposition party Trinamool Congress has laid siege to the area surrounding the factory, demanding the return of 400 acres.
As a result, Tata Motors last Friday suspended work at the Nano factory for an indefinite period and signalled its readiness to pull out of the state.