Calcutta, June 5: Tata Motors was provided land in Singur considering a car plant’s ability to create jobs and boost the local economy, the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation told the high court today.
The 40-page affidavit, filed by Minakshi Mukherjee, the deputy general manager (law) and principal officer of the corporation, also said the possible contribution of automobile industry to the state’s development was also taken into account before the decision was made.
“The automotive sector provides direct employment to 4.56 lakh people and indirect employment to one crore others. All these clearly foreshadow tremendous growth potential for the automobile industry in Bengal,” the affidavit says.
Mukherjee said Hindustan Motors, which dominated the automobile industry in India once, is now sick. “At this juncture, the Tatas’ proposal for setting up a car unit presented a unique opportunity to project Bengal as a leading state in the industry.”
Tata Motors will make a Rs 1-lakh car in the Singur unit. If things go according to plan, the first vehicle could roll out next year.
The company has said over 10,000 people would get employment as a result of the plant. Moreover, it would pave the way for ancillary units that would employ more.
The government’s affidavit, too, stressed on a car plant’s job-generating ability. “For a balanced growth, it s essential that the secondary manufacturing sector also grows fast, generates employment, absorb surplus labour from agriculture and boosts growth in the service sector as well.”
Justifying its decision to choose Singur for the factory, the corporation said: “The industry needs good supportive infrastructure in terms of roads, water, telecommunication…. Adequate infrastructure is not available in the interiors of the state. Therefore, investors tend to gravitate towards the districts around Calcutta….”
According to the affidavit, of the 997 acres acquired, 645.67 would be given to the Tatas for the manufacturing unit. “About 290 acres will be provided to other auto component manufacturing units. While about 14.33 acres will be given to the West Bengal State Electricity Board for a 220-kv substation, 47.11 acres will be retained by the WBIDC.”
The court asked the corporation to file the affidavit after a Hooghly resident moved court challenging the legality of the land acquisition process.