There are two ways of looking at the news coming of Calcutta that Ratan Tata has threatened to pull the Tata Nano project out of Singur if the violence and disruption continues. One way is to look at it as just desserts for the communists whose cheap political theatrics has been hijacked by Mamata Banerjee; as a sign of the “State” being held hostage by special interest groups where emotive issues such as acquisition farm land is concerned; as a shape of things to come.
The less predictable way is to look at the news as a god-sent escape route. The four-door, four-seat, rear-engine Nano maybe the Tatas’ answer to dreams of families which perilously use two-wheelers. It may mark the emergence of India as a manufacturing power, etc. But the cheap car with suspect safety for that price is an environmental and infrastructure disaster in the making: the clogging up of our roads and cities; the fouling up of our air; the inflating of our oil bill.
Question: Should the Tatas consider the Tata Nano a bad idea, well sold, and call off the project, in the “national interest”? Or should other States start bidding for the Tata project if West Bengal cannot rein in Mamata & Co? And should the Tatas go ahead come hell or high water given the massive investments and prestige involved?
Also read: And Ratan Tata sang, ‘PR kiya tho darna kya’