Unfortunate day for West Bengal: India Inc

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New Delhi, Sept 2 (UNI) India Inc today expressed its disappointment with Tatas' decision to look for alternate locations for manufacturing its much coveted 'Nano' calling it an unfortunate day for West Bengal.

West Bengal Industry Minister Nirupam Sen described the decision to suspend work at the Singur Nano plant as ''an unfortunate day for West Bengal''.

Tata Motors today said it was looking for alternate options to manufacture its small car Nano from the company's other plants and work at Singur has been suspended.

A detailed plan to relocate the plant and machinery to an alternate site is under preparation, it added.

''Stoppage of work by the Tatas and a possible pull out is obviously unfortunate and we wish that the Singur dispute between Tata's and farmers had not reached this point. This would not have happened had there been a better and more open dialogue between the investors/government and the local community earlier on,'' FICCI President Rajeev Chandrasekhar said.

He hoped that this decision does not impact the nano project timelines.

Tatas automotive unit unveiled the Nano in January with plans to launch it commercially in October with a price tag of Rs one lakh. It prompted a race by global carmakers to build ultra-low-cost vehicles for developing markets.

But the project has been disrupted by protests led by West Bengal's main opposition party, the Trinamool Congress, which claims farmers are being forcibly evicted from the site for the 1,000-acre manufacturing complex.

The conflict is emerging as a landmark battle between Indian big business and political activists opposed to the acquisition of farmland for large-scale private enterprise.

The protests are particularly alarming for the country's large industrialists because the Tata group is seen as the most acceptable face of Indian capitalism, with an extensive range of corporate and social responsibility programmes.

UNI SR MP HS2203

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