On the eve of a meeting between the government and the opposition today (5th sept’08) with the governor acting as a facilitator, the chances of success are very low in view of the adamant position taken by a highly irresponsible opposition demanding return of 40% of the land back from Tata Motors to unwilling farmers.
The Tatas came to West Bengal at the invitation of the Chief Minister and were given 1000 acres of land by the government as per their requirement. Now, when the factory is almost nearing completion and first Nano car, the world’s cheapest, was about to roll out by October’08, the irresponsible opposition has obstructed work in the factory by blocking all movements in and out of the factory and creating a state of fear psychosis in the minds of staff and workers.
In fact they should have blocked the work at the very beginning of the starting of the project if they were so adamant for return of land. But they are tactically blocking the work now hoping that the Tatas cannot go out, now that their factory is almost ready. This is a pure Blackmailing by Mamata Banerjee.
Tatas have already expressed their unwillingness to join political negotiations. They have acted in good faith to erect the factory in the land offered. They cannot be held responsible for the political mess that has taken place. The Tatas cannot be asked to play politics and find some middle path that is non-existent from Tatas point of view.
The Governor Mr.Gandhi has taken upon himself the thankless and onerous task of finding such a middle path. Whatever is the outcome, it will probably be too late to salvage the small car project, if solutions are not found within a week, which seems quite unlikely because the infinite time scale of politicians is not the same as of business community, which work according to fixed time scales.
Tatas are not out of options. They have developed the prototype of Nano at their Pune factory, which has excellent infrastructure for automobile manufacture. They have then the Pantnagar factory and the flagship Tatanagar factory to back up. They are already contemplating shifting of machineries as per warning issued by Ratan Tata earlier.