SMS helped Gujarat to bag Nano project

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New Delhi, Oct 14: It was a one-word SMS that helped Gujarat bag the Rs 2,000 crore-Tata Nano project! Recounting his 'secret' of how he wooed the Tatas, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said he had texted them just one word--'Swagatam', when he heard they were pulling out of Singur.

''After that when the whole world was trying to woo the Tatas, we quitely started work that would help clinch the deal. Four days later, they got back to me with their decision,'' he said addressing a gathering of Delhi-based Gujaratis at a function held here last evening to felicitate him for getting the Nano project for Gujarat. He said,''People may not believe, but I had sincerely hoped that Tata's small car would roll out from West Bengal, and had never wanted to take advantage of the Singur crisis.'' ''I always thought Tata's pulling out of Bengal would be a setback to the whole nation as several countries had their eyes on the project and offered the Tata Motors all dollops to set up base in their own land. People may find this surprising but I wanted Nano to roll out from Bengal, as it is India's pride and will help the country take huge strides,'' he underlined.

Mr Modi said it was only after Tatas decided to pull out of Singur that he approached them. He said everyone was surprised when Mr Ratan Tata announced his choice of Gujarat. ''It was a matter of four days, and things fell into place. We had moved about quietly.'' ''What I have given the Tatas is faith and confidence. Tata is not the kind of company which will make an investment on seeing a leader's face. They weighed Gujarat against all parameters and found it the most suitable. It was no way an emotional decision.

And, I am happy Gujarat came out with flying colours on all counts,'' he remarked. Drawing a parallel between Nano and baby Krishna, he said Gujarat will take care of Nano just like Yashoda took care of Krishna. ''And, Yashoda is remembered more than his real parents,'' he pointed out. On a more serious note, Mr Modi said Nano will only act as a catalyst to make Gujarat into a transport hub.

''We have a 1600-km coastline, which can be developed for Gujarat's advantage. We have the world's biggest ship-breaking industry in Alang. Why should we only break ships? I thought there was a tremendous scope for ship-repairing and ship manufacturing in the state. We are tying up with Korean firms to start a ship building venture in the state,'' he informed.

He said apart from Nano, Gujarat is also home to a General Motors plant in Kutch. It will also go big time into making of coaches for Metro rail for the whole country.

Later, talking to mediapersons on the sidelines, Gujarat the Chief Minister reiterated his demand for a stringent terror law and called for a joint strategy to combat disruptive elements. He also charged the Centre with adopting a ''casual'' attitude on the issue. Mr Modi said, ''Terrorism is not the Gujarat's problem alone, but for the entire country. We need to adopt a zero tolerance policy on terror.''


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