The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jharkhand picks Tata as Mody stands by

Ranchi/Jamshedpur, Dec. 12: Something has gone wrong somewhere.

Jharkhand chief minister Arjun Munda today announced the decision to nominate someone from the House of Tatas as the state’s brand ambassador to act as the face of Jharkhand outside to attract investments.

But former Tata Steel managing director Russi Mody said from Calcutta that the government had promised to name him the ambassador.

Mody and the Tatas do not share the best of relations since his acrimonious departure from the company. So much so that the former Tata Steel boss had been booked at a government guesthouse off the limits of the Tata township, as he was slated to arrive in Jamshedpur today.

Mody could not make it, for a bizarre reason. “The (Jharkhand) government had said it would see whether an aircraft could be provided for me so that I travel from Calcutta to the city. I had packed my bag and was ready for the trip. But I could not since there was no plane. My age does not permit me to travel by train,” Mody said.

Government officials did not say whether an aircraft had been promised to Mody and feigned ignorance about the proposal to make him the ambassador.

Tata Steel managing director B. Muthuraman had met the chief minister in Ranchi last evening. Reports of Tata group head Ratan Tata being made the ambassador had been in the air for quite some time. Mody’s planned visit to Jamshedpur was also known.

“I met the Tata Steel managing director yesterday. We agreed over the ambassador proposal in principle. The details are being worked out,” Munda said.

Sources in the chief minister’s house said the name of who from the Tatas would be designated the brand ambassador had not been decided, “but someone from the corporate house would be given that honour”.

Mody did not blame the government for the non-availability of the aircraft. “I am honoured that the government decided to give me the honour of a state guest. The government has assured me that it would make me the brand ambassador. I am ready to shoulder the responsibility,” he said

Munda, however, did not give the impression that he had thought of Mody. “We have a 90-year-old relationship with them (the Tatas). They have done so much for the state, its people and the country. We are just formalising our relationship.”

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