Ratan Tatas open letter invites mixed reactions

Written by Political Bureau | Kolkata, Oct 17 | Updated: Oct 18 2008, 07:50am hrs
An anguished Ratan Tata, in an open letter to the people of West Bengal published in the form of an advertisement in select newspapers in Kolkata, once again explained the rationale behind his decision to pull out the Nano factory from Singur. Even as Tata raised critical issues like history repeating itself for Bengal in the form of investments flying out of the state , the letter created a fresh stir in political as well as industry circles.

The letter reminded the citizens of Bengal: Many may have forgotten that West Bengal was the major centre for heavy industry and steel fabrication. It has only been in recent times that the present government has been able to rebuild the confidence of the investors to invest in the state. It is therefore ironic that, at this crucial time and moment of hope for the state, history appears to be repeating itself.

Tata openly blamed the confrontative actions of Trinamool Congress for the pull-out and showered praise on the investor-friendly policies of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Sougata Roy, a senior Trinamool Congress leader, reacted sharply: I think this is unprecedented that Tatas have stooped down to such a level to take political sides. How much they love Bengal is clear from the alacrity with which they moved away to Gujarat. We never asked him to shift. All we said was let the factory be there but return the land of the unwilling farmers.

Congress legislature party leader, Manas Bhuniya refused make any definite statement. The letter talks of a constructive Buddha and a destructive Mamata. I belong to Congress and I will not comment on the letter. It was a personal opinion of Ratan Tata and it is for the younger generation to decide whether they would agree to what Ratan Tata has to say, Bhuniya said.

Md Salim, the CPI(M) MP saw hope in the letter. He said: Younger people are well aware of what happened. They know how Mamata Banerjee and her supporters played a destructive role. On Tatas part, they should take steps to consolidate the support they have received from the government to culminate into something positive.

Sanjay Budhia, president, ICCI said the letter clearly showed that his heart lies in Bengal. We want to take this as a positive indication. We might have lost the battle but in future if the situation is conducive, they might consider relocating to Bengal, said Budhia.

Biswadip Gupta, CEO, JSW Steel, described the letter from Tata as a personal reaction.

Gupta added: Generally, industry should not meddle into politics. But the letter shows Tatas deep sense of anguish coming out of frustration when he was forced to move out of Bengal.