Friday, October 03, 2008

Tata abandons cheapest car plant
Protests outside the Nano plant
Work at the West Bengal plant was suspended in August

Indian firm Tata Motors has abandoned plans to build the world's cheapest car in the eastern state of West Bengal.

Tata group chief Ratan Tata said: "We have little choice but to move out of Bengal. We cannot run a factory with police around all the time."

He was speaking in the city of Calcutta after weeks of protests in a row over land acquired from local farmers.

The car, the Nano, is expected to cost about 100,000 rupees ($2,130). It was due to be launched in October.

Work at Tata's plant at Singur in West Bengal has been suspended since the end of August following protests.

Nano car

Exclusive look at the Tata Nano

Mr Tata said the company had not yet decided where to move production to.

"We have got offers from several Indian states but we have not yet finalised where to produce the Nano," he told journalists.

"We faced considerable aggression in setting up the factory. I had hoped the opposition will see reason and allow us enough land... But that has not happened."

He said his group would still consider West Bengal as an investment destination in future.

"I value the considerable intellectual resources this state has, but something will have to change here," he said.

Mr Tata was speaking after meeting the West Bengal chief minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya and his colleagues.

"This is a black day for Bengal. We will have so much more difficulty getting investments now," said the state's industry minister, Nirupam Sen.


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