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On course inside, concern outside
- Vendors get september trial signal

Calcutta, Aug 20: Tata Motors can start trial production of the Nano in Singur from September 1 if there is no outside interference.

Production at the mother plant is likely to begin with 20 cars a day. The company has told its suppliers about the readiness to go ahead with the plan.

But an element of uncertainty has cropped up outside the plant with the Trinamul Congress threatening to go ahead with an indefinite siege of the site from August 24.

Initially, the company will bring components from elsewhere to assemble at the mother plant as only a handful of vendors have completed their units in the area earmarked for ancillary industries.

“The trial production will test the readiness of the mother plant. For that, Tata Motors can procure the components from vendors elsewhere,” a source said.

The mother plant, across 650 acres, has obtained Mamata Banerjee’s clearance. But she is unwilling to let the ancillary units — 55 of them — to come up on the 290 acres next to the mother plant.

About 30 vendors have started work. Some of them, like Caparo Engineering owned by Swraj Paul, are ready to roll.

The others could take time till November to get ready if fresh trouble breaks out.

Some of the ancillary units have placed their orders for machinery from abroad but are fearing that these could be stuck at the port if Mamata lays siege to Singur.

Tata Motors had told the vendors to be ready for production from May.

But few stuck to the deadline, partially because of the floods last year and the agitation by villagers.

“Tata Motors has told us it will go full throttle from September 1. But we are not sure. Everything depends on what happens from August 24,” a Nano vendor said.

The Tatas have said the Nano will hit the market between October and December.

Bandh pause

Work at the Nano plant came to a standstill today because of the strike called by the Left trade unions.

Policemen guarded the main entrance to the plant along with Tata Motors’ own security personnel. A Tata official said: “We did not declare a holiday. But the workers could not come because there was no transport.”

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