March 14, 2009

West Bengal government gears up for auto components park

Kolkata: After the Singur jolt, the West Bengal government is slowly making arrangements to house the state’s first auto components park in Guptamoni in West Midnapore district. A special purpose vehicle (SPV), floated by the developers of the project, has now started buying land directly from land owners in Guptamoni, some 127 km from here, a top official of West Bengal Industrial Infrastructure Development Corp (WBIIDC) told mediapersons Friday.

“The project started around a year back. The SPV is now purchasing land directly for the project from the land owners,” the official said.It is a joint venture project by WBIIDC and Bengal SREI Infrastructure Development. WBIIDC is an organisation of the West Bengal government for development of trade, commerce and industries in the state.

Bengal SREI is a joint venture between West Bengal Industrial Development Corp (WBIDC) and SREI Infrastructure Finance Ltd. WBIIDC and Bengal SREI would develop the infrastructure and then invite auto component manufacturers to set up manufacturing units over there. Asked when the project would be completed, the official said: “It is too premature to talk about it now. We are still purchasing land.” The park would be spread over 500 acres.

The state government suffered a huge setback when global auto major Tata Motors pulled its Nano car project out of the state due to violent protests by farmers, who alleged that their land had been taken by the state government forcibly. The protests were led by the state’s principal opposition party, the Trinamool Congress. At Rs.100,000 ($2,000) Nano has been advertised as the world’s cheapest car.

Tata Motors acquired 997.11 acres at Singur in Hooghly district to construct the Nano car factory in 2006, out of which 400 acres were earmarked for building auto ancillary units. “No auto component company has approached us yet. The project is still at a nascent stage and the economic condition worldwide is also not very conducive,” the official said.

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