Tata Nano Case

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  • Topic: Tata Motors, Tata Nano, Kolkata
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  • Published : July 9, 2011
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TATA NANO SINGUR CASE

TATA NANO SINGUR CASE

INTRODUCTION:

Tata Motors announced in 2006, that the Nano would be manufactured in Singur, West Bengal, helped in part by a forced acquisition and reuse of farmland by the West Bengal state government to entice Tata to build there. In May 2006, the West Bengal Government decided to acquire 997 acres (initially 1013 acres were asked for) for the Tata Motors small car factory in Singur of Hooghly district.Almost 6,000 families, including many agricultural workers and marginal peasants will loose their land and livelihoods. Though the State Government has decided to compensate the land owners, no policy has been taken for the landless agricultural workers and other rural households who are indirectly dependent for their livelihood on land and agricultural activities. Almost all the land owners had also expressed their unwillingness to give their land from the inception of the project, but these appeals have fallen on deaf ears.

The Tata Project: According to news reports in the month of May 2006, just after the victory of the Left Front in the election of the Legislative Assembly for the seventh time consecutively, a meeting was held between Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, CM of West Bengal and Ratan Tata, the Chairman of Tata Company. In this meeting, it was officially announced that over 1000 acres of the land of Singur block would be acquired since the Tata Motors would build a small car plant. It was also said that the land acquisition would take place shortly as Tata Motors wanted to launch a new One-lakh-Rupee car model by the year 2008. According to Mr. Nilotpal Basu, CPI(M) MP (as stated by him to a delegation that met him on the 7th December), the Tatas had been shown 5 different pieces of land and they chose Singur.

The only official document publicly available on the project, the Gazette notification under sec 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 between 19th and 24th July states that the “land as mentioned in the schedule below is likely to be needed to be taken by the Government/ Government undertakings/ Development Authorities, at the public expense for a public purpose viz., employment generation and the socio economic development of the area by setting up a Tata Small Car project”. Local farmers soon began protesting the forced acquisition of their land for the new factory. As the protests continued through 2007 and 2008. Tata first delayed the Nano launch and later decided to build the car at a different location in Gujarat, instead. India's Ratan Tata had always expected his $2,500 car, the Nano, to draw crowds. But the nearly 40,000 protesters who recently shut down the highway leading to his factory in the state of West Bengal weren't exactly the fans he was hoping for. The scene at Singur has been playing out with increasing frequency—though on a smaller scale—across much of India. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government wants to kick-start an industrial revolution, complete with giant tax-free special economic zones. But its vision of a gleaming factory-powered economy seems to be running headlong into India's dusty agrarian reality. With nearly 700 million people drawing their living off the land, there is little acreage left over for auto plants, steel foundries, and export assembly lines One of the farmers claims that the government without his consent had allocated his three and a half acre plot of land to the 1000 acres required by Tata. State authorities claimed that they compensated the farmers which was apparently a false claim. The farmers are of the opinion that this was more of a forced claim. The Singur “model” of industrialisation as represented by the now abandoned Tata Motors project in West Bengal has a number of regressive features. The Left Front government in West Bengal, in competition with other states for the location of Tata Motors’ Nano automobile complex, fell overboard in offering subsidies to the company. Further, the...
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