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Chinese-made small car from Singur?

Indrani Roy Mitra in Kolkata | November 05, 2008

Singur might soon be home to another small car, one that is likely to cost between Rs 150,000 and Rs 200,000.

With the people of West Bengal, the media and the state's politicians busy contemplating the fate of the Singur land that lies vacant following Tata Motors' [Get Quote] decision to move the Nano project out of the state, Left Front sources told rediff.com late on Tuesday night that the West Bengal government is likely to offer the disputed 'Nano land' to another car manufacturer.

However, there has been no official confirmation from the West Bengal government on this issue.

It may be noted that West Bengal Sports Minister Subhash Chakraborty had, in the recent past, hinted that Singur would soon become home to 'another car company'.

Sources close to the development told rediff.com that representatives of China's First Automobile Works and Ural India (an Indo-Russian venture) met West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Tuesday and expressed their desire to set up an automobile manufacturing plant in the state.

A state government official, on the condition of anonymity, said, "The company is visiting various parts of India and is keen on investing in the state. The state government is yet to take a decision on the issue."

Party insiders, however, feel that FAW-Ural India might finally be offered the Singur land. As the Singur controversy is still simmering, the government has not directly offered the land lying vacant there. However, this land certainly fits the bill, party insiders affirmed.

The car company, according to sources, had asked for only 600 acres for its factory, an area, which if handed over, would possibly not draw the ire of the belligerent Opposition leader and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.

While FAW-Ural India has not zeroed in on any specific area, the yet-to-be named small car, priced between Rs 150,000 and Rs 200,000, is likely to roll out of Bengal by 2010.

Though the joint venture is expected to produce only small cars initially, it will also make buses and trucks at a later stage.

"Both, the state government and FAW-Ural India, will decide on the factory site by next week and an official announcement will then be made," sources told rediff.com.

Established in 1953, FAW Group Corporation is one of the 'Big Five' Chinese automobile manufacturers that make buses, light, medium and heavy trucks, tourist coaches, and passenger cars. It has joint ventures with Toyota, Volkswagen, and Mazda.

Ural India is a joint venture between Uralz Russia, Motijug Group and West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation. The company is into manufacturing heavy duty, high-performance trucks and other commercial vehicles.

The company has factories in Haldia and Kalyani, two prominent industrial towns in West Bengal.


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