14 June, 2011
Tata Motors has learnt of the Bill, tabled by the West Bengal Government in the State Assembly today, on the plot leased by the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) to Tata Motors and its vendors.
The Bill mentions "non-commissioning and abandoning" of the project by Tata Motors and goes on to state that "no employment generation and socio-economic development has taken place and people in and around the area have not benefited in any manner…" The Bill does not state the reasons for stoppage of operations and shifting of the plant.
Tata Motors wants to clarify that the operations of setting up and commissioning of the plant was conducted under very difficult conditions, amidst violence, disruption of activities, damage to property, threats to personnel. An appeal was made on August 22, 2008, for a congenial environment, which was rebuffed with an escalation of hostilities through a blockade on the highway, more incidents of physical assault and intimidation of personnel. Therefore, Tata Motors did not find the situation congenial to continue its operations and, there being no guarantee of a safe and peaceful environment, had to reluctantly close operations on October 3, 2008, and eventually moved out.
The Company had invested nearly Rs.1800 crores in establishing the plant. All the equipment had been installed in the plant and trial production had begun. The Company still has buildings, sheds and infrastructure on the plot on which it has invested about Rs.440 crores. As for the vendor park, 13 vendors had constructed plant buildings while 17 others were at various stages of construction. The vendors had invested about Rs.171 crores.
In keeping with the tradition of the Tata Group, Tata Motors began a comprehensive community development programme at Singur in December 2006, even before the plant’s construction began, comprising development of employability / self-employment of the community, health and education. Eventually, about 767 individuals were trained. About 102 health clinics were run treating over 17,000 patients till the activity was forcibly stopped. Adjacent schools were supported with necessary infrastructure. Men and women in the area were supported to acquire means of self-employment.
Tata Motors had set up the plant, at the invitation of the West Bengal Government, to revitalise the automotive industry in the state and contribute to its industrial revival. Had the project been allowed to flourish, the plant would have initially directly employed 2,000 persons, and in a cascading manner created employment in excess of 10,000 jobs amongst the vendors and service providers in the vicinity of the plant, as can be seen at the new location of the project. It was an immensely painful decision for the Company to pull out the project, forced by the circumstances that prevailed.
Tata Motors will study the Bill and take appropriate steps.