'TATA's shifting from Singur is a sad incident'

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Onboard Air India One, Oct 26: Manmohan Singh, the Indian Prime Minister has said that he is 'sad' on the circumstances in which TATA Motors has to shift its ultra low-cost 'Nano' car plant to Sanand near Ahmedabad from West Bengal.

"It is certainly sad that the circumstances in which Ratan Tata had to move his projects. But entrepreneurs are free to decide the location of their plants. In democracy and market economy, these things happen. These are the decisions which cannot be forced over down the throat of unwilling entrepreneurs," Dr Singh told reporters on board his special aircraft on his way back to New Delhi.

He further added, "We are sad that lot of work had been done in West Bengal and dates were fixed for 'Nano' appearance in the market. However, process is delayed, and therefore it is regrettable."

On Oct 7, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up 'Nano' car project in Gujarat.

The land for the 'Nano' project is located within a 2200-acre campus owned by the Anand Agriculture University. The University has already transferred 1,000 acres back to the government.

Officials said that 1,100 acres of land would be given to the Tata Motors.

Tata Motors will produce 2.5 lakh cars annually in Gujarat; the capacity can go up to five lakh cars per annum.

The Gujarat Government had gone all out to woo Tata Motors ever since Singur project in West Bengal came unstuck.

Tata Motors was pulled out of West Bengal, where violent protests by farmers unhappy with the compensation for their land had forced the firm to suspend work on its factory for more than a month. In the wake of the Singur crisis, and the row over SEZs, the Prime Minister categorically defended industrialization as a development imperative for India.

"India needs to industrialize. Without that we cannot hope to find solutions to our development problems."

He further added, "India must industrialize, but not on the backs of poor farmers. The real issue is if land is needed what are the terms on which this land should be acquired. It should not be acquired at prices, which keeps the farmer dissatisfied. There should be an increasing attempt to reward the farmers appropriately giving them perhaps a stake in enterprises which comes into existence on the land that may be acquired." By Naveen Kapoor


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