Tata Motors awarded Rs 765.78 crore compensation after 15-year hiatus from Singur plant closure

The issue relates to the facility Tata Motors was setting up for its small car 'Nano' in Singur.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 30 Oct 2023 Views icon5305 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Tata Motors’ plant operation in Singur was expected to create employment in excess of 10,000 direct and indirect jobs within the plant, among vendors and service providers in the vicinity.

Tata Motors’ plant operation in Singur was expected to create employment in excess of 10,000 direct and indirect jobs within the plant, among vendors and service providers in the vicinity.

Almost 15 years after halting operations at its small car plant near Singur in West Bengal due to escalating violence against the company, Tata Motors announced on Monday that it has been awarded Rs 765.78 crore in compensation, along with interest, from West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation Limited. The company will also receive Rs. 1 crore to cover legal costs.

The arbitration proceedings between Tata Motors Limited (TML) and West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation Limited (WBIDC) have now been settled with a unanimous award in favour of TML. The award, dated October 30, 2023, states that TML is entitled to recover a sum of Rs 765.78 crore from WBIDC, along with 11% interest per annum from September 1, 2016, until the amount is fully recovered. Tata Motors made this information public through a regulatory filing.

Back on January 21, 2007, the Mumbai-based auto major had initiated the setting up of a facility in Singur, with an estimated cost of Rs 1800 crore. The vendor park associated with the plant saw 13 vendors constructing plant buildings, while 17 others were in various stages of construction. Collectively, the vendors had invested around Rs 171 crore. The initial plan was to provide direct employment to over 2,000 individuals, with an additional 10,000 jobs being created indirectly among vendors and service providers in the plant's vicinity.

However, a political agitation by the All India Trinamool Congress over land acquisition issues derailed the project just as the plant was preparing to produce its first car in October 2008. The plant and its ancillary ecosystem faced significant challenges, including violence, disruption of activities, property damage, and threats to personnel.

Ratan Tata, the then Chairman of Tata Motors, expressed his displeasure and threatened to withdraw the company's plans from Singur. In response, several state governments, such as Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, and Gujarat, offered to provide an alternative location if Tata Motors decided to move away from West Bengal.

With the situation in Singur not improving, Tata Motors ultimately decided to shut down its operations on October 3, 2008. The company moved to Gujarat, where the state government under Chief Minister Narendra Modi provided additional incentives and tax benefits in support of the new plant.

In a further twist to the event, on June 14, 2011, the West Bengal Government tabled a bill in the State Assembly regarding the plot leased by the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) to Tata Motors and its vendors. The bill alleged that Tata Motors had "abandoned" the project and claimed that no employment generation or socio-economic development had taken place, with no benefits reaching the people in and around the area. Tata Motors, in response, refuted these allegations and stated that it had not abandoned the small car factory site at Singur. Instead, the company was forced to relocate due to the escalation of violence against it and the state's failure to provide a conducive environment for industry.

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