3 October, 2008
In a meeting held with the Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mr. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Minister in Charge, Department of Commerce & Industries, Mr. Nirupam Sen, Mr. Ratan N. Tata, Chairman, Tata Sons & Tata Motors and Mr. Ravi Kant, Managing Director, Tata Motors, expressed their extreme anguish at the heightened level of agitation and hostility by the opposition parties led by Ms. Mamata Banerjee, resulting in a concern for the physical security of their staff, contractors and vendors. Threats, intimidation and instances of assault and general obstruction in one form or the other have been the order of the day. It was therefore with great regret that Mr. Tata and Mr. Ravi Kant conveyed to the Chief Minister that in the interest of the project’s success and viability and in light of the opposition’s continued agitation, there was no option but to move the project out of the State of West Bengal. Mr. Tata and Mr. Ravi Kant expressed their deep appreciation of the State Government’s efforts to facilitate and support the NANO Project.
Tata Motors had constructed the plant over the past two years, despite continued agitation and hostility as also continuous affect on the reputation and integrity of the Tata Group. Tata Motors has now almost reached a start up position of the plant. However, the heighted hostility and agitation had caused the commissioning and start up phase to be suspended. The contract labour had also been intimated and assaulted, thus making it impossible to continue. Tata Motors had suspended work for an entire month on the
plant. Unfortunately, there was no de-escalation in the level of hostility and agitation. The Trinamool Congress and those supporting them, continue to demand a part of the land to be returned to the farmers by the Government, which would render the project unviable.
Tata Motors believes it has displayed immense patience and had sincerely hoped that the situation would improve. Throughout the construction period, despite the constant obstruction and acts of aggression, staff and the contractors continued to work in the hope that the situation would normalize and the company’s bonafides would be understood.
Given the unfortunate conditions, Tata Motors has been obliged to take the hard decision of moving the project out of the State. In doing so, the company recognizes all the cooperation it has received from the State Government and states categorically that the NANO project having to be moved from West Bengal is entirely due to the continued agitative actions by the opposition party led by Ms. Mamata Banerjee with total disregard for the rule of law.
Mr. Tata reiterated that the location of the NANO project in West Bengal was an expression of faith in the investor friendly atmosphere created by the State Government. The project was to be a show case plant which would have considerably enhanced the visibility of the State, created jobs for the younger citizens of the State and through the company’s community programs, would have enhanced the quality of life of the urban and rural population.
Both Mr. Tata and Mr. Ravi Kant reiterated their faith in the State Government’s policies and expressed their regret that these unfortunate circumstances had prevented Tata Motors’ participation in the development of West Bengal. They hoped that West Bengal would grow and share in the prosperity and growth of India.