A senior representative of the Tata group of companies on Saturday attended the foundation laying ceremony for an automobile hub by Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee near the Shalimar Railway station close to the city.
G. S. Meakan, Head of Logistics of Tata Motors Distribution, a subsidiary of Tata Motors, attended the function along with senior executives of other automobile companies.
Ms. Banerjee said that she welcomed automobile majors to invest in this hub. “I welcome you to the logistic hub, to the auto hub and also for setting up joint ventures with the railways, if you are interested.” She said that a separate committee had been set up for looking after the public-private partnership ventures proposed by her ministry. “We have land,” Ms. Banerjee said.
The venture, launched on Saturday, is proposed to come up as a logistics station for automobile companies prior to distribution throughout the region.
The presence of the executive of a Tata Motors’ subsidiary is to be seen in the background of the Singur incident in September 2008, when a violent agitation over land, led by the Trinamool Congress chief, had culminated in the Tatas’ withdrawing their project from the State.
The State’s principal opposition party had shown a ‘cool’ attitude towards the country’s premier corporate group since then, with Ms. Banerjee ‘lacing’ her election speeches with none-too-complimentary mentions about the Tatas.
Ms. Banerjee said on Saturday that she hoped to boost the Railways’ revenues by setting up a chain of such hubs where vehicles carried by the railways would be kept for distribution.
She has also said that the railways could set up a unit at the 997 acre now lying idle at Singur.
Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata has said that the group was willing to hand back the leasehold if they were compensated for the money they had invested there.