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'Tatas' exit to create vacuum in Bengal'
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August 22, 2008 19:14 IST

Sharing anguish of Tata Motors [Get Quote] Chairman Ratan Tata, leading industry chambers on Friday asked the West Bengal government to resolve the land issue with the Opposition and ensure that the Tata's dream small car project is not pulled out of the state.

The three apex chambers -- CII, FICCI and Assocham -- said West Bengal would be a big loser if the Tatas withdraw from the Singur project out of frustration.

"This (Tatas' withdrawing) will create problems for the state not only in the present but also for future in attracting investment," Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Secretary General Amit Mitra said.

He said many alternative sites were offered 'on a platter' elsewhere in the country for locating the small car project. But the Tatas decided on Singur because they were 'committed to bring investment into a state which had attracted little investor attention'.

An angry Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry Chandrajit Banerjee said, "Small car is a world story. It is an issue of country's image."

Banerjee said if the Tatas pull out of West Bengal, it would 'irreversibly hamper the future industrialisation of the state and could take it back to an age of industrial vacuum'.

Asked who is to blame for the impasse, Banerjee said, "Anybody trying to create roadblock is wrong".

Assocham President Sajjan Jindal, whose JSW group has also lined up big-time investment in the State, said if the Tatas leave it would take West Bengal 'back to the 1970s when the state witnessed large exodus of industry'.

Tata group chief Ratan Tata has threatened to exit West Bengal if there was no let-up in violence at Singur, where the company is building a factory to make the world's cheapest car Nano.

Tata said if the group was unwanted in the state 'we would have to make a move despite whatever investments had been already made in the project'.

The project is facing political protests, marred by violence. The Opposition, mainly the Trinamool Congress, has been demanding return of 400 acres of land, which the Tatas say, is required for ancillarisation of the project.

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