Sunday, October 05, 2008

Gentleman bids goodbye

Friday, October 3, 2008
Kolkata: It was in a rich baritone, with poise and dignity, that Ratan Tata announced the decision to move the Nano small cars' project out of West Bengal in a press conference post the meeting with the chief minister today evening. He was appreciative of CPI (M)'s breakneck efforts to retain the company in Singur but remained firm on his stance. He strived to assure one and all of no hard feelings, either with regards to the state infrastructure, its people or its governance.

In his farewell speech, Tata reiterated his dream to usher in industrialisation in the state. "We have taken a very regretful decision to move out. We came here two years ago attracted by the investor friendly policy of the current government. I personally had a great desire that this part of the country, that has been ignored, should be developed and we should be a part of that. I still exceedingly confirm that this is a very investor-friendly state. We are leaving not because of the governance, but because of the agitation of the Opposition led by Ms. Bannerjee. We continue to be bullish and enthusiastic about what can happen in West Bengal. I just hope that West Bengal can be the state of huge development and not a state which stands only for agitations, strikes, rallies," said Tata.

Asked why he did not accept the government's offer to provide foolproof security to ward off the agitators, his response was very unlike a baron who means nothing but business. "The meeting took a long time because he (the CM) was very persuasive in his desire that we not move. I had to explain to him that the well being of our employees and contractors happens to be my responsibility and that's something I cannot pass on to him. Unless there is a congenial environment, we cannot stay. Please understand also that you cannot run a pant with police protection," replied Tata.

When asked that wasn't the decision to move out against Tata's legacy, he crisply replied, "I am the wrong person to ask this. I am not leaving Bengal on a whim or a fancy. You better ask this to Ms. Bannerjee."

Tata's commitment to professional ethics and social responsibility is unparalleled. This post, may seem contradictory now. While the way land acquisitions are dealt with in the country are quite an issue of debate, for this one case, something has really gone amiss. Lord not propel leaders like Mamata Bannerjee to associate with issues as delicate as these.. Yes, leaving Bengal seems a sad, sad thing.