November 13, 2008

‘Tata’s exit will not be complicated’

Kolkata, November 13, 2008: The exit route for Tata Motors from Singur will not be a complicated one, Principal Secretary of state for commerce and industry, Sab-yasachi Sen, has assured.

“As and when the Tata Motors takes out all the equipment from the site, they can terminate the lease with the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) — but not before that. The same applies for the 290 acres of land that is with the vendors,” said Sen.

He said the factory site has many types of equipment that had been assembled with the help of engineers from Japan and Germany. “Assembling the unit took about two years. The state government has to give them legitimate time to bring out all the equipment. Even if not two years, we are expecting them to take anything between six months to a year,” said Sen.

He said the commerce and industry department will keep a layout ready for possible future projects. “We will conduct a survey of the land and prepare a blueprint with roads, drainage, sewerage and the overall layout. The area might be taken by a single company or two companies or we may even have an industrial park. Layout for all options will be prepared,” the minister said. He, however, added that only when the existing lease agreement is terminated, concrete progress can be made with other companies. The land lease is renewed every year and the present lease will lapse in March.

WBIDC Managing Director Subrata Gupta, meanwhile, confirmed that vendor companies have already started approaching WBIDC for terminating the lease. “Recently we received a letter from one vendor company stating that they would like to terminate the lease and take the money back,” said Gupta.
Sen also said the proposal for Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) at Nayachar has been sent to the 14-member high-power committee chaired by the cabinet secretary. The proposal was approved by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers two days ago. “We hope the high-power committee will clear it soon. Then the proposal will go to the Cabinet,” he said.

Regarding Salim group’s investments in Gujarat, he said: “We have no apprehensions of the group pulling out its projects from West Bengal. Both Mahabharat Motors and New Kolkata International Development Pvt Ltd (NKID) are on track. It is a big group which can invest anywhere it wants,” added Sen.

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