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Tatas inspect sites for Nano in K'taka, AP
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October 05, 2008 15:31 IST
Last Updated: October 05, 2008 20:54 IST

The Tata Nano car project was on Sunday vigorously wooed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat as its top officials carried out site inspections after the group exited West Bengal following political opposition.

The Tata Motors [Get Quote] team led by its Managing Director G Ravikant and accompanied by Karnataka Industry Minister Murugesh Nirani visited three places in and around the twin cities of Hubli-Dharwad in Karnataka. The Belur Industrial area, Mummiatti and another area around the airport near Hubli were the three sites which were offered by the government.

The team met Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and discussed with him the offer made by the state to the company to shift the Nano project to Karnataka.

The Nano officials, who attended the meeting besides Ravikant were Girish Wagh, who is heading the small car project, Tapan Mukhopadhya, GM (Finance) A S Puri, Legal Adviser.

Speaking to media persons after the meeting, Yeddyurappa said, "I have made an offer and assured them of all facilities, including land, water and power."

"Now it is for them (the Tatas) to communicate," he said, adding, "I will also hold talks with Tata Chairman Ratan Tata."

It is the fourth round of discussions that Karnataka is having with the Tatas after it pulled out of Singur.

The team later flew to Hyderabad and held talks with Chief Minister Y S Rajashekara Reddy.

After the talks, Ravikant said: "We want to know what they have to offer (for the Nano project)."

Chief Minister Narendra Modi pressed hard for the small car project to be shifted to Gujarat saying there is 'no place for red tapism in his state and it is only red carpet' for anyone wanting to set up shop.

Before meeting the Andhra Pradesh chief minister, the team led by Ravikant visited Sitarampuram in Rangareddy district in the state. The company officials, however, had to face a hostile reception in Sitarampuram. They cancelled their planned visit to Aluru, another proposed site.

Sources said of the total 1,200 acres land the government has in Sitarampuram, 40 km from Hyderabad, under endowment, 40 per cent has been given to farmers on rent.

Besides Sitarampuram, the state also proposed Vishakapatanam, Hindupur in Anantpur district and Naidupeta bordering Tamil Nadu as areas for the Nano plant, sources said.

Sources said Reddy is believed to have assured Tata Motors that Andhra Pradesh would better the offer from all other states. The company officials also had a meeting with Industry Minister Geeta Reddy for about 20 minutes. Geeta Reddy was assisted in the meeting by high level officials, including Secretaries in revenue and electricity departments.

Incidentally, the AP government on Saturday announced a slew of incentives for automobile industry. The sops include 100 per cent reimbursement of VAT for 21 years for all ultra mega automobile project.

Modi said Tata teams are visiting all states and they have visited Gujarat too.

"According to my information, they are also visiting Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttarkhand. There are many other states too that are contacting them," he said.

Modi said the decision has to be taken by the Tatas and not by any particular state.

"I don't think they will delay it," he said.

The chief minister said he often talked to Ratan Tata and not just after the group pulled out of West Bengal.

The Karnataka cabinet has already taken a decision to grant 1,000 acres of land also offered various concessions if the Tatas plan to set up the plant in Hubli. The Tatas currently have a manufacturing facility at Dharwad.

Principal Secretary, Industry and Commerce Department, Umesh, State Finance Commissioner M R Srinivasmurthy, GM of Karnataka Industrial Area and Development Board Shyam Bhat accompanied the Tata team.

Speaking to media person, Nirani said the team would submit their report to the company. Tata Chairman Ratan Tata is expected to visit Bangalore next week and have a final round of talks with the government on the issue, he said.

Highlighting the conducive investment environment in Karnataka, Nirani said the team had been briefed about the availability of land, water, power and the state's capability of building an industrial-residential township in a record time.

As per initial plans, Tatas planned to start commercial production of Nano from Singur by Durga Puja. Now after the pull-out it is to be seen whether the company will be able to meet the deadline or not.

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