A legal battle ensued between West Bengal and Tata Motors over the leased land. With Tata Motors already shifted production to Sanand in Gujarat, West Bengal wanted to take the land back and return it to their original owners. But, it seems like Tata has different plans.
For the first time, Tata Motors has revealed that they intend to return their allotted 997 acre property in Singur, West Bengal with the expansion of their Nano car project. PTI reveals, senior advocate Harish Salve told a bench comprising justices H L Dattu and Ranjana Prakash Desai, “I have instructions from the highest level to submit that we are keen to return there (West Bengal).”
Today’s answer by Harish Salve was a response to the panel’s earlier query, “”The land was acquired for establishing a car manufacturing plant at Singur. Now the purpose is no more there as you have already moved out. Now you cannot say that you still have interests in the land in question. The land should move back and the money should be paid back to you which you had paid at that time to West Bengal Government.”
Instead of rolling out the first Nano from the Singur plant in 2008, Tata Motors decided on exiting the state altogether, as the controversy over land acquisition went out of hand. They soon decided on setting up shop in Sanand, Gujarat, but the project had already delayed. Tata rolled out Nano from Gujarat plant in June 2010. This delay of almost two years, is also considered by many as one of the reasons behind Nano’s failure in the auto industry today.
Even after making lower sales, it seems like Tata has not given up on the Nano dream. This was confirmed today, when they stated that they aim to keep the allotted land in Singur. It is still not clear what they mean by the expansion of Nano car project. As of now, a new Nano diesel version with 800cc two cylinder engine is in the making. This model is expected to bring a revival in sales of Nano, which currently stand at 2,000 units per month against their installed capacity of 20,000 units/month at Sanand plant.