TOI: From Bengal to Gujarat, it’s the same country and two very different stories. What lessons do you draw as a senior business leader?
Tata: I don’t know how much problem that we faced was really that of the famers. I would just say that political opposition and political aspiration should always be subordinated to the better welfare of the country or the state. I don’t know who would be the losers. You have talked about ourselves being one of the losers in the sense of losses owing to time overruns. But I wonder what we have left behind. I am sure West Bengal can attract other investments and will attract other investments and we will be as supportive as we can in attracting new investments. But what about the people who had aspirations for jobs? The people who have made this issue of land-for-land — will they prosper? Has anything been done to increase their yeilds, their income levels? Many of them are below subsistence levels — they say so themselves. On the one hand, they talk of drinking their money away or not having money, and on the other hand, they talk of having their land back. I mean are we doing anything to improve their lot? These are the questions that come to my mind. So, political opposition should hold the country first and not themselves. That’s all I am saying.
Ratan Tata for me is most respectable businessman in India. Tata’s interview in the Times of India shows the dire political aspirations killing the prospect of development in India.
Now that the world’s cheapest car plant is gone from the state of West Bengal, it will effect its economic prospects for many years to come and the short term losses to all the job aspirations, the increase in land prices around the plant and other external benefits.