Tata Motors on Tuesday said it would take appropriate steps after studying the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Bill, 2011, which pertains to the plot leased by the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) to the company and its vendors. The Bill was passed by the Assembly by voice vote amid Opposition walkout earlier in the day.
Tata Motors said it was an immensely painful decision for it to pull out the Nano small car project, forced by the prevailing circumstances.
In a detailed response, the company said the Bill, while mentioning “non-commissioning and abandoning” of the project and stating that “no employment generation and socio-economic development has taken place and people in and around the area have not benefited in any manner…,” did not give the reasons for stoppage of operations and the shifting of the plant.
In a press statement here, Tata Motors said the setting up and commissioning of the plant were done under very difficult conditions, amid violence, disruption of activities, damage to property and threats to personnel.
An appeal was made on August 22, 2008 for a congenial environment but it was rebuffed with an escalation of hostilities through a blockade on the highway, and more incidents of physical assault and intimidation of personnel.
Thus, the company said, Tata Motors did not find the situation congenial to continuing its operations and, there being no guarantee of a safe and peaceful environment, had to reluctantly close operations on October 3, 2008, eventually moving out (to Gujarat.)
The statement said the company had invested nearly Rs.1,800 crore in establishing the plant. All equipment had been installed and trial production had begun. Tata Motors still has buildings, sheds and infrastructure on the plot in which it invested about Rs. 440 crore.
As for the vendor park, the statement said 13 vendors had constructed plant buildings while 17 others were at various stages of construction. The vendors had invested about Rs.171 crore.
In keeping with the tradition of the Tata Group, Tata Motors began a comprehensive community development programme at Singur in December 2006, ahead of the construction activities.
It consisted of enhancing employability/self-employment of the community, health and education. Eventually, 767 individuals were trained. Health clinics, numbering 102, were run treating over 17,000 patients until 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, the statement said.
Pointing out that Tata Motors had set up the Nano plant at the invitation of the West Bengal government, the statement said had the project been allowed to flourish, it would have directly employed 2,000 people.
The number of people getting secondary employment would have increased to over 10,000.