Everybody loses if Nano leaves Bengal
Tata Motors chairman Ratan Tata’s final threat of pullout from Singur came at a time on Tuesday when all the dramatis personae were making frantic face-saving efforts, reports Tanmay Chatterjee.Updated: Sep 03, 2008, 01:37 IST
Tata Motors chairman Ratan Tata’s final threat of pullout from Singur came at a time on Tuesday when all the dramatis personae were making frantic face-saving efforts.
The message from Tata Motors reached the media and the state government almost simultaneously when Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was with Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi, urging him to take personal initiative. The governor reportedly agreed to consider his request.
At around the same time at Singur, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee announced that “land for land” would be an acceptable solution, indicating a major climb-down.
But the message from Tata Motors suddenly created a situation where everybody stood to lose. If the Tatas really leave Singur, Mamata will have to carry the burden for years to come.
“I could never imagine that our Opposition could be so irresponsible. But it takes only a few people to destroy a creation, but millions to build something from scratch”, industry minister Nirupam Sen told a television channel.
Sen’s frustration was genuine. If the Tatas shift the project to another state, it will be a terrible loss of face for Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and the CPI-M, which is desperately trying to come out of its anti-industry image.
Politically, however, the CPI-M may pick up a brownie point or two, if Mamata is tainted as a politician.
The farmers and the non-farming population in Singur probably will have to pay the highest price if the Tatas really leave.
One, the land acquired could not be returned to them according to a 2004 order of the Supreme Court.
Two, the sudden boom in the informal service sector – from PCOs to van ricksaws – will overnight become redundant.
And three, without Tata Motors, the spiraling land prices along Durgapur Expressway will crash.
The exit of the Tatas from Singur will certainly have the same cascading effects, as did their entry.