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Seal Tata deal: Media

The Bangladeshi media has criticised the Zia Govt's mishandling of the offer by India's Tata Group to invest $3 billion.

india Updated: Jul 13, 2006 11:45 IST

The Bangladeshi media on Wednesday criticised the Khaleda Zia government's "mishandling" of the offer by India's Tata Group to invest $3 billion, saying it had succumbed to political and electoral compulsions.

The negotiations with the Tata Group should be "kept alive", the New Age newspaper suggested in an editorial.

The media by and large was critical of the government for "foot-dragging" on the issue till the political situation came to be influenced by electoral calculations.

New Age was among the newspapers that emphasised the need to be cautious since Tata was going to utilise natural gas, which was "exploitative" and "did not really contribute to development."

Belonging to the group that publishes the weekly Holiday and founded by the late Enayetullah Khan, the paper propounded its known line of Bangladesh having to be careful about dealing with India, "a hegemonistic power" whose attitude angers the people of Bangladesh.

The Daily Star said: "The way we handled Tata's proposal does not send the best of signals."

"The reason given by the giant industrial conglomerate is not of their own making; it is of Bangladeshi origin: Our government's inability to take a decision on the proposal before the forthcoming general election," the newspaper said in an editorial.

"This is no reflection, we would like to deduce, on the merit or otherwise of Tata's proposal but rather the timing it has been foot-dragged to, by the procrastination and indecisiveness of our government of the day," it observed.

It posed a volley of questions: Has the latest submission from the giant industrial house received due consideration of the government? If so, what stopped them from responding to it one way or the other?

If it was not in the best interest of Bangladesh, could that not have been conveyed to them so as to solicit further modification if it was deemed entirely unavoidable?"

Pointing that political compulsions weighed with the Bangladesh establishment, not with Tata, the editorial further said: "We have withheld our decision for political reasons but Tata, it is worthwhile to note, did not link it to political consideration or to any preference for a particular party government.

It is in the fitness of things that multi-billion dollar investment proposals with long-term gestation are seen purely as momentous economic engagement having nothing to do with the changing of guards or vagaries of politics in a country.

"That is primarily because such deals are struck with the state, not the government."