West Bengal urges Tata not to shift Nano plant

Kolkata, September 26:

India’s West Bengal state made a last-ditch appeal today to vehicle giant Tata Motors not to shift production of the world’s cheapest car despite huge protests triggered by a land dispute.

“The chief minister has written to Tata requesting him to restart work at the Nano plant at Singur,” Industry Minister Nirupam Sen told reporters here. “There might be some people who creating problems but that’s not the voice of all the people and we want to convey it to the Tatas,” Sen said. The minister said it would be a “big loss” to the industry-starved state if Tata abandoned the high-profile plant, which is nearly finished. The state cabinet yesterday promised Tata full government assistance for the plant slated to make the world’s most eagerly awaited car, the Nano, which will carry a price tag of $2,150. There was no immediate response from the company, which suspended building the plant on the outskirts of Kolkata on August 29 following weeks of protests led by the regional Trinamool Congress opposition party. The protesters charge that farmers were forced by the government to give up their land for a pittance so the plant could be built.

The government’s appeal came after Tata Motors, part of the sprawling tea-to-steel Tata Group, began moving machinery and equipment from the factory on Wednesday.