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Singur imbroglio: Vendors to follow Tata's trail

Ishita Ayan Dutt in Kolkata | August 25, 2008 10:28 IST

Vendors are ready to pull out of Singur and follow Tata Motors [Get Quote], said some of them, a day after Ratan Tata threatened to do so.

Of the 55 ancillary units, around 30 have started construction at Singur, but they would not mind shifting. The vendors are the ones in focus since the "400 acres" demanded by Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee includes the 290-acre vendor park.

Uttam Bose, country head for Caparo Engineering, which specialises in automotive stampings, said, "Our units are ready but if the Tatas decide to move out, we are ready. We can supply from our other units, which are not captive for the project, unlike Singur. We have some inventory at other units also."

Caparo has invested Rs 85 crore (Rs 850 million), after a 22 per cent project overrun due to the delays.

Caparo is not the only one. Sona Koyo Steering CMD Surinder Kapur said, "We are with the Tatas. We came here with them, wherever they go we will go."

Asked whether Mamata Banerjee's demand of shifting the vendor park to a nearby location was feasible, Kapur said, "I don't believe so. Mamata Banerjee should recognise the economics of the whole project. This is a business issue and not a political one."

The Trinamool leader has not budged from her stand of getting back 400 acres, which she claims was acquired from farmers without consent, and has planned an indefinite siege around Singur.

However, according to the West Bengal government, around 305 acres have been acquired from unwilling farmers by invoking the Land Acquisition Act 1894.

The vendors are not opposed to shifting, but the only problem is that the Rs 100,000 price tag of the car may be affected.

Sandipan Chakravortty, managing director, Tata Ryerson, another ancillary unit, said that the whole project was conceived keeping the price in mind. "There were two considerations, a world-class car and the price. If we shift, it will add to the cost," he said.

The location of the vendor park, next to the plant, is for "just-in-time" inventory management, one of the key factors for the price of the car.

Sona Koyo, Tata Ryerson and Caparo are ready for the rollout of the car on October 1.  According to Bose, only 20 units would be rolled out per day to start with, which would be ramped up to 500 units in a couple of months. The capacity of the plant is 250,000 units a year, which can be expanded to 350,000 units.


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