Tata Motors is very upset at the way things are turning out for its people’s car. It finds the Buddha-Mamata peace deal over Singur, where the car is being manufactured, lacking in clarity.
<b1>This ambiguity was enough for it to once again signal it was ready to take the car elsewhere. It has an October-December quarter deadline to meet, and it can hardly contain its impatience.
“Tata Motors is obliged to continue the suspension of construction and commissioning work at the Nano Plant,” said a statement issued by the company in response to the deal struck by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Mamata Banerjee on Sunday.
The company will review its "stated position only if we are satisfied that the viability of the project is not being impinged.”
Sources close to the development in Tata Motors told Hindustan Times, “This changes the character of the project. This is not acceptable.”
Putting corporate might behind Tata Motors, Infosys board member Mohandas Pai told reporters in Pune, “We will have to relook and rethink our plans in the state, given the fear psychosis there.”
Tata Motors is angry over reports that the government has agreed to return to farmers land acquired for the vendor’s park. There was no mention of this in the statement read at the end of the talks. But Tata Motors appears close to break point and is clearly in no mood for niceties. A Tata Motors source said, “We are evaluating our plants and the choice of bringing out the first Nano lies between our Pantnagar, Pimpri and Dharwad plants.”
According to industry analysts, Pantnagar where the Ace is manufactured, seems to be the most probable destination.
Following the statement, the state government swung into damage control late with the chief minister and his industry minister Nirupam Sen saying there will be no violation of the agreement with Tata.
“The statements that were made by the Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee and other agitators have created utter confusion among the people,” said Sen, adding, “They are claiming that we have agreed to give 200 to 300 acres of land from inside the project to the unwilling farmers.”
“We want to make it clear that during the meeting with Mamata Banerjee, the state government has not agreed to relocate the vendors.”
What Sen did not clarify was if the vendors’ park was to be left untouched, why the government allowed stoppage of work there till the four member government committee identified alternative land.
The chief minister also named members of this committee. “The opposition would be represented by Singur’s Trinamool MLA Rabindranath Bhattacharya and Singur Panchayat Samity member Becharam Manna. WBIDC managing director Subrata Gupta and district magistrate of Hooghly Neelam Meena would represent the government in the committee,” he said.
Mamata Banerjee clarified there was “no confusion” regarding the agreement.