Kolkata, Oct 3 : Tata Motors chairman Ratan Tata today said that he was moving the "Nano" project out of Singur because of the agitation by the Trinamool Congress, led by Mamata Banerjee, and not because of any failure on the part of the West Bengal Government.
He also said the format of the agitation had made them wonder from where the funds had come and what really lay behind the agitation.
On whether administrative measures could have been taken to facilitate work at Singur, he said "the government was damned if it did and damned if it didn't" in the situation at Singur, solely resting responsibility on Banerjee for failing to understand the implications of the project.
Tata firmly said it should be left to the company to decide how many acres it needed to set up a plant.
He said in Pantnagar too, Tatas had about 1000 acres, 600 for the company and the rest for ancillary units.
While referring to Banerjee's demand for return of 300 acres from the acquired land and suggestion for moving the ancillary units across the road, Tata said, "Others cannot decide how much place we need to manufacture cars and where we could place our ancillary units."
A visibly tired Ratan Tata said a 100 "Nano" projects will come and go but Bengal had to decide what it wanted, and added, "Thought has to be given to whether the young people want jobs, the state needed infrastructure and investment."
Tata said one has to be conscious of the rural population but consider whether the future generation of the state will have opportunities unless there is investment.
He said the state needed to figure out whether it wanted to choose the path of agitation, strike, assault or wanted to move forward.
Tata who had a meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya earlier today, said he had decided to invest in West Bengal, impressed with the industrial policy of the current government.
He said he had great respect for those policies and leadership of the Chief Minister, but since an understanding could not be arrived at with the opposition TMC on the issue, the Tatas had decided to move out.
Tata further said that the decision was taken because the company had a deadline to meet and had made promises to the public on the "Nano" roll out, which needed to be fulfilled, and added that he had a commitment to his shareholders over this.
"The venue for the plant is not finalized but there have been feelers from four or five State Governments," said the Tata Motors Chairman, adding, "Wherever we move, we will look back on the lesson learnt and ensure a congenial atmosphere before work starts."
The ever polite Tata also said the Tatas would definitely consider investment in West Bengal in future but it was unfortunate that the company had such an experience this time.
Tata said the Chief Minister was extremely distressed and was very persuasive towards the project not moving out.
However, he said the responsibility of the employees rested on him and he could not take a risk with their lives.
On the losses to the company, Tata said, "Whatever the cost, there was no other option but to do this."
Tata also said that the people, who have received training for jobs for the factory here, among those who willingly gave up land, would hopefully become members of the Tata Motors family in future, but not in Singur.
West Bengal Industry Minister Nirupam Sen said the Chief Minister and the government offered all support to the Tatas to continue the project in Singur but Tata said he did not want to continue work with police protection and he wanted a peaceful environment.
"It was unfortunate for the state that despite repeated requests and explanations given to the opposition about the project and the best rehabilitation package in the country given to land losers by the government, they did not agree to the project. The opposition acted irresponsibly on the issue," said Sen. y Ajitha Menon