all-aluminium, 2-cylinder, 623 cc, 33 PS, multi point fuel injection petrol engine
A year back, this time around, Nandigram was on flame, and Singur was the hotbed of protests against Tata’s People’s Car. Today Singur, though still kept simmering by interested quarters, is busy building the plant that will manufacture Nano, the people’s car, later this year.
These thoughts must have crossed the minds of Tata Motors’ executives and assembled guests at the 9th Auto Expo in New Delhi today as Ratan Tata unveiled Nano in the morning to a resounding applause.
Nano is crucial to Bengal’s industrial resurgence. The state’s once fabled base of industries has since long been brought to shreds by militant workers, egged on by the left ideologues. They believed workers’ interests were paramount even if the industries in which they work went to hell by their actions.
The clock has turned full circle. It is now the state’s turn to shed all veneer and go begging for industries. Its efforts haven’t gone waste, the proof of which is the Tata Motors’ Singur factory, which by itself has the potential to grow enough greens in the industrial wasteland of Bengal.
But Nano is not the only Tata initiative in the state. Near Kharagpur, heavy vehicles are to be made by Tata Motors in separate facilities. These mother plants are in turn bringing in scores of auto-ancillaries, and taken together they will be employing thousands of people.
Direct employment is like the low-hanging fruits that are easy to pluck – in this case easy to happen. The indirect advantage is usually many times over, rising from the fact that people with more money at disposal will like to spend it.
The chain continues, and its multiplier effect is felt for a long time to come. Maruti’s Gurgaon is a testimony to that, not to speak of Pune that rose to prominence primarily on the basis of flourishing auto companies in the city and nearby.
2008 may be watershed year for Bengal that will likely see many more industrial developments. If Sajjan Jindal’s (JSW Steel) 10MT Salboni plant and IISCO’s modernization are the major ones, there are any number of relatively smaller ones slated to take off in this year – for example Videocon’s proposed IT SEZ near Siliguri.
Another reason why 2008 bears the signs of being remarkable is the fact that the CPM, the dominant partner in the left, has pulled out all stops in its zeal to pursue ‘capital’. It’s not the hide-n-seek game any longer. That the smaller left partners are growing restive is an unmistakable sign of that.
Given the way the things are proceeding, if the CPM, sorry the left, wins the panchayat polls later this year more or less decisively, we may see the pursuance of capital in Bengal like never before.
Perhaps the time is finally arriving to tighten our seat belts. Just perhaps.