Singur, a small town in Hooghly district of West Bengal, got the attention of the media from around the globe because a world renowned business stalwart, Ratan Tata declared that Singur will be the place for history to take birth. It was decided that Tata’s unique and much hyped $2,500 car-the Nano will be manufactured at an industrial plant in Singur. Tata’s entry could have proven to be the Midas touch for the town in particular and the state at large. But, the politicization of the Industrial project of great national importance has brutally deprived Singur of its chances to get transformed into another Jamshedpur.

Now, the Tatas have pulled out of Singur in view of the agitation led by Trinamool Congress leader, Mamta Bannerjee. The ruling government proved to be inefficient in handling the golden opportunity, which could have restored Bengal’s status of being one of the most industrialized states of India like it was in the 1950s. The government couldn’t assess the needs and wishes of its farmers and consequently, it failed to chalk out a plan, whereby it could have used a major industrial project for the general good. A wiser management of the controversy on the part of the Government could have done the much required trick. For instance, recently the Government of Maharashtra conducted a general consensus among the people of villages, where an industrial project was proposed. This helped the management to find out the real stand of the people and then chalk out a plan, which satisfies the majority. The planning process of bigger things becomes much easier with a simple exercise like this. But, I guess the Bengal government was a little frivolous in handling the project, especially when the sparks of agitation were present at the beginning too, which were completely over-looked instead of being nipped in the bud. The opposition party used anomalies on the part of the government to its best. Mamta Bannerjee conducted the agitation against the government in the most dramatic style spending lakhs of rupees on a daily basis. One look at the turn of events and it’s obvious that progress of the state is getting choked in the shackles of inefficient and wrongly aggressive politics.

The pull out of Tatas from Bengal will hurt the state for times to come because the whole chaos that has emerged as a result of this unfortunate event has tarnished the state’s image. Its immediate effect is to be seen on the people of Singur, who are bewildered as their future lies in a fix. The gravity of the situation can be more explicitly illustrated by the following data which amazed me:

Appointment by Tata Motors: 752 ITI trainees

For Construction Activity: 4,000 workers and labourers (daily)

22 construction supply syndicates: 4,500 labourers

Associated small business: 500 workers.

People who had started working with the firm know the real gravity of the pull out and the dire consequences that will follow. And more than anyone else they know what changes would have come about if the project was allowed to run smoothly. But, now those hopes are certainly shattered.

Tatas are known for their larger commitment towards the nation and they have set examples by fulfilling corporate social responsibility in a superb fashion. The Bengal Government would have never imagined that these sparks will get converted into mighty flames and will assimilate in them an era of advancement and prosperity, which Singur was destined for. Many people saw the entry of Tatas as a coveted realization of some fond dream, but now that dream ride has come to a sordid end.

Srishti Gupta


[Image source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/soumik/2351497776/]