On July 29, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Union Minister Nitin Gadkari after a series of political meetings with leaders of various parties that are in opposition to the Modi government. She said, “I requested that it’ll be good if we have a manufacturing industry in our state that will manufacture electric buses, electric autos, electric scooters. Our state shares borders with Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan & northeastern states. So, we need proper roads.”
Nitin ji agreed for a meeting. He asked me to send my Chief Secy. His DG, PWD Min, Secy, Transport Secy & he’ll be there too. My Chief Secy is coming to Delhi today for a meeting tomorrow. As per convenience of Nitin Gadkari, I’ll send my secy to meet him: WB CM Mamata Banerjee— ANI (@ANI) July 29, 2021
While Gadkari asked the CM to send the chief secretary for a meeting, it is essential to know how she dove away Tata Motors from West Bengal in 2008.
How Bengal lost Tata Motors to Gujarat in 2009
In 2006, the land acquisition for a Tata Motors plant had started in West Bengal. The land was acquired by the state government, and in 2007, Tata Motors began the ceremonial construction of the plant. However, controversy over the land acquisition process caused problems in the completion of the project.
Tata was planning to start a manufacturing plant for Tata Nano in Singur, West Bengal. Banerjee was the leader of opposition in the state. During the process of acquisition of land in previous years, massive protests had erupted against the Tata manufacturing plant and the state government. At that time, it was alleged that the state government had forcefully acquired multi-crop land from the landowners at an inadequate price.
It led to violence and bloodshed as police forces under the rule of the Left Front government opened fire at the protestors. Banerjee became the frontrunner of the protests and started a movement called “Save Farmland”. Soon, high-profile professional protestors like Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy and Anuradha Talwar joined the protests to drive away Tata Motors from the state. Following the uproar, Tata Motors finally decided to cancel the project in West Bengal in September 2008 and started the process for the same in Gujarat’s Sanand. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat at that time.
The then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi had assured the Tata motors not just land to build a massive, state of the art manufacturing factory, his government had also ensured that the plant gets built and starts manufacturing soon. Initially designed for the Nano model, the plant later started producing Tata’s Tiago and Tigor models and had achieved 100% production capacity in 2018. In September 2020, Tata Motors had rolled out the 300,000th Tiago car from the plant.
Years have been passed since the controversy, but the locals have not forgotten what they have done. The majority of the locals who took part in the protests now believe that they were wrong at that time. One of the protestors had said, “We got nothing out of the agitation. We were used and later dumped to fend for ourselves by the political parties to serve their own purposes. No industries came up in the region, nor the land which was returned to us in 2016 is cultivable. We are living in extreme poverty.”