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3-month delay for Tatas' dream car

Ishita Ayan Dutt  |  Singur 

Unexpected flooding by monsoon rains, delays in land handovers following political unrest and in land acquisition by vendors will see a three-month delay in the roll-out of Tata Motors' Rs 1 lakh car from its factory in Singur.
The project, which has attracted attention as much for the competitive pricing of the car as the political unrest over land acquisition for its factory 45 km from Kolkata, is now expected to be launched in the first half of 2008-09.
"The launch will be between April and September and most likely in the latter part of that period," a Tata Motors spokesman said.
Over the last few days, flooding of a portion of the 645-acre plant in this low-lying site from a nearby rivulet disrupted work and saw worker attendance dwindle. Today, for instance, hardly 200 workers from a force of 1,700 per shift reported for work.
Political unrest, led by Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee's Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee, over the past year also caused significant delays in handing over land.
Sources said the government was supposed to have handed over the land to the company after the festive season last year but eventually the "bhoomi puja" was performed only in January 2007.
The vendor programme could also have played a role in slowing the project. State government sources said 30 of the 50 vendors had taken possession of land in Singur, which involved 180 acres of the total 290-acre vendor park near the site. So far, only four of these have started work.
Vendors signed separate lease agreements with the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC), the government agency involved in the land acquisition process, which was after Tata Motors signed the agreement with the corporation in March 2007.

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First Published: Fri, August 03 2007. 00:00 IST