Saturday, January 19, 2008

Opposition may not remain Nano in Singur

Economic Times on the Singur Issue after the unveiling of Nano

11 Jan, 2008, 0200 hrs IST,Tamal Sengupta & Sutanuka Ghoshal, TNN

Had irresponsible politics not put the clock back, Singur perhaps would have been deep into the production of the Nano by now. The Tata beetle was originally slated to hit the roads in January 2008.

Now when eager-beaver auto dealers have begun literally salivating to land a Nano dealership, the billion-dollar riddle is perhaps getting a fix on when the ‘one-lakh car’ will actually roll out of the Tata Motors Singur factory.

Will Ratan Tata’s breezy affirmation on Thursday that the Nano would indeed roll out of Singur trigger a countdown to ecstasy?

If Ratan Tata has his way, as indeed he well might because he has the backing of West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and the CPM, the rollout will be around the year-end. Construction at Singur is very actively on, but so also is the effort of the opposition to come back to limelight once again.

It’s sad because irresponsible politics has held West Bengal’s growth to ransom. One wonders, for how long more? Singur had been Mamata Banerjee’s resurrection theatre. It was here that her pro-farmer anti-Tata agitation caught the popular imagination that finally spilled across to Nandigram. But with Nandigram gradually moving centrestage, Singur had quietened down significantly despite some 29-odd trips made by Mamata to the site.

On Thursday, Ratan Tata himself may have touched a raw nerve somewhere while talking about the name of the car. His reference to “Mamata” or “Despite Mamata” may perhaps have induced the Trinamool Congress mob at the Singur market to burn an effigy of the car later in the day. Could this be a bad omen? Who knows?

“Our fight against the state government and the Tatas will continue since we think the government has forcibly acquired multi-crop land from the Singur farmers,” Trinamool leader Partha Chatterjee said.