September 19, 2008

Tata offered alternative site for Nano plant

India's Tata Motors offered new site for Nano car plant

AFP, 18th September,2008,1 hour ago(9-40pm)

MUMBAI (AFP) — Tata Motors said Thursday it has been offered another site in India for its factory to mass produce the world's cheapest car after protests over land dogged another location.

Company officials met with the chief minister of the southern hi-tech state of Karnataka and were offered 1,000 acres (400 hectares) "with all facilities" to manufacture the Nano, a Tata official told AFP.

"We are obviously happy," the Tata spokesperson said, but added no decision had been made on whether the auto giant would abandon its nearly-completed plant in West Bengal state.

Tata has poured 350 million dollars into the West Bengal plant, but it cannot complete the project and begin production due to violent protests by the state opposition party and farmers who say their land was stolen.

Efforts to resolve the stand-off have so far failed, with protesters rejecting a government rehabilitation package and an offer to return some of the land.

The Tata official said 13 other Indian states were also offering land for the factory.

Tata Motors had said it hoped to launch the Nano in October in time for the big-spending Hindu festival season. The company wants to sell the car for 100,000 rupees (2,150 dollars).

Shifting the plant would delay any mass rollout for months.

India's Tata says state offers home for cheap car

Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:35am EDT, REUTERS
(Adds quotes)
By Tamajit Pain

KOLKATA, India, Sept 18 (Reuters) - India's Tata Motors said on Thursday the southern state of Karnataka had offered land for a production plant for its cheap Nano car after the firm suspended work in West Bengal due to violent protests.

The company planned to roll out the 100,000-rupee ($2,380) Nano from communist-run West Bengal from October, but farmers angry over losing their land and supported by opposition politicians forced work to be halted.

"Karnataka has offered 1,000 acres (400 ha) of land and incentives for setting up the Nano plant in the state," a Tata Motors spokeswoman said after Ravi Kant, the firm's managing director, had met the state's chief minister.

Kant later told TV channels the company was considering its options on moving the plant out of Singur, an hour's drive from West Bengal capital Kolkata.

"In case we were thinking of relocating the plant from Singur he (chief minister) would give all necessary support and assistance and incentives to make it happen.

"We are watching the situation and actively looking at alternatives."

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa told reporters he was hopeful the Nano factory would be relocated to his state.

Tata Motors had said it would look for alternative locations for a plant for the Nano, dubbed the world's cheapest car, after calling a halt to work in West Bengal.

Farmers in Singur, where Tata Motors was building its factory, say they were forced off their land without adequate compensation.Some said their consent was not sought and land was seized by authorities.

They want their land returned and have been backed by the local Trinamool Congress party, which has been spearheading the protests.

But Tata Motors and state government officials said land where the factory was being set up could not be handed back to the farmers, and instead offered to raise the compensation by 50 percent.

The Trinamool Congress rejected the offer, threatening more protests.

The dispute reflects a larger standoff between industry in India and farmers unwilling to part with land in a country where two-thirds of the billion-plus population depend on agriculture.

(Writing by Bappa Majumdar; Editing by Mark Williams and Sanjeev Miglani)

Karnataka offers 1,000 acres for Nano plant

Indo-Asian News Service, September 18, 2008

The Karnataka government on Thursday offered 1,000 acres of land to Tatas if they plan to shift the Nano car project from troubled Singur in West Bengal.

Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa told Tata Motors managing director G Ravi Kant that the goverment would also provide several other facilities for the small car project.

"We have offered the Tatas 1,000 acres and promised other facilities," Yeddyurappa told reporters after his meeting with Kant.

The land will be offered in the north Karnataka district of Dharwad where Tatas have an equipment manufacturing facility.

Kant said: "We have not taken any decision (on relocating from Singur). We will consult our chairman Ratan Tata."

Tata Motors have suspended operations at its Singur factory since September 2 apprehending danger to its employees after Trinamool Congress-led protests against alleged "forcible" acquisition of farmland for the project.

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