Nano Vendors Follow Tatas into Court Battle
KOLKATA: Ancillary units that were part of the Tata Nano project in Singur are preparing for a legal battle with the state government after Tata Motors’ challenged the Singur land return bill.
The vendors are looking at two options — moving a petition jointly in Calcutta high court or filing individual petitions in line with Tata Motors. The situation will be clear by Thursday, say sources.
When Mamata Banerjee first announced her intent to take back the Singur land, most of the ancillary units had made it clear that they would act as per Tata Motors’ instructions. The vendors have strongly condemned the ransacking of their structures on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning by a section of mob gathered on the site. “It is very unfortunate and sad,” a top component manufacturer said.
Managing director of Lumax, D K Jain, told TOI that they might go to court in line with Tata Motors. However, he was not sure whether it is Tata Motors Vendors Council that will move court or individual vendors will file their own petitions. “Tata Motors has already asked Lumax for a detailed report of the loss incurred in the Singur project. We shall give it to them shortly,” he said.
Lumax, a leading auto electronic component manufacturer, had already started construction in Singur. Twenty-three of the proposed 54 ancillary units for the Nano project had taken land and started construction. These include Amtek Auto, JBM Auto, Rasandik Engineering, Lucas TVS, Lumax Industries, Rucha Engineers, Caparo Engineering, Rico Auto, Sona Kayo Steering, Tata Ryerson, Tata Toyo, Tata Johnson, Rane Madras, Sharda Motors and Supreme Treves. Most of these vendors have already started operations at Sanand in Gujarat, the new master site of Nano.
Sona Kayo Steering chairman Surinder Kapoor told TOI from Germany that the vendors are likely to move court collectively. “We are left with no choice but to look for legal option. The vendors were forced to leave Singur along with Tata Motors,” he said. When asked about the clause in Singur bill that vendors can demand the lease premium, Kapur said that it has only talked about refunding lease premium. “We have invested a lot for land filling and construction. We are only asking for the investment the company made in Singur. Sona Kayo is a listed company and we are answerable to the shareholders,” he added.
A top Rucha Engineers official said that they would talk to Tata Motors about the next course of action. “We have just come to know that Tata Motors has moved court. Rucha will go by its advice,” he said. Behr India COO, Sunil Kaul, said he “would blindly follow Tata Motors”.