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Tata Motors' land hits roadblock in U'khand

Shishir Prashant  |  New Delhi/ Dehra Dun 

After facing opposition in West Bengal, Tata Motors’ plan to acquire land in the Pantnagar industrial area in Uttarakhand has also hit a roadblock. The auto major is currently producing its dream car, Nano, and other commercial vehicles at the Pantnagar manufacturing unit.

The Uttarakhand government recently gave the green signal to allot 55 acres from the Pantnagar agriculture university to Tata Motors for the housing project. But, university authorities have not allotted the land to the company, despite several reminders by the government.

“It is government land that the university must hand over to Tata Motors. I fail to understand why it is being delayed,” a government official said.

University authorities, on the other hand, claim they are ready to hand over the land, provided the varsity gets Rs 16 crore. The officials said this amount was owed by the State Infrastructure and Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand Ltd (Sidcul), which had developed the Pantnagar industrial estate.

On previous occasions also, the university authorities had resented the government’s decision to allot 1,000 acres to Tata Motors. They claimed the highly fertile land was given to the company at a throwaway price.

But the then chief minister, N D Tiwari, put his foot down and allotted the land to Tata Motors, where it established its plant. Nearly 70 ancillary units also set up their facilities in the vendor park established by the company.

Last year, when the company was shifting its Nano plant from West Bengal in the wake of political opposition, allegations surfaced in Uttarakhand that the government was showing no enthusiasm to invite Tata Motors for setting up the Nano plant in the hill state. In the meantime, the company began manufacturing Nano at Pantnagar, soon after the Gujarat government allotted the land at Sanand.

Officials here still claim that Tata Motors has plans to expand its Pantnagar facility, since 200-250 acres of the vacant land is still in the possession of the company.

“We believe the company will come out with its expansion plans at Pantnagar,” an official said. Chief Minister R P Nishank is also likely to meet Tata Group chief Ratan Tata soon on the issue.

First Published: Sat, February 06 2010. 00:19 IST