May 16: Tatas will come back to West Bengal, says TMC leder Amit Mitra

May 16, 2011

Tatas will come back to West Bengal: Mitra
Press Trust of India / New Delhi May 16, 2011, 20:56 IST

Tatas were never driven out of West Bengal by Trinamool Congress and the group will return to the state with industrial investment, Mamata Banerjee’s pointman for economy Amit Mitra said today.

“Tatas will undoubtedly come…. Mamata Banerjee did not drive them out,” Mitra said in an interview with private television channel.

Tata Motors’ was forced to shift its Nano project out of Singur in West Bengal following farmers’ agitation against land acquisition, spearheaded by Trinamool Congress chief Banerjee.

Mitra, widely seen as the next finance minister of the debt-ridden state, said businessmen do not have sentimental issues and look at return on investment. Once the industry confidence is restored, they would come and invest in the state, he said.

After a landslide victory, Banerjee is likely to be sworn in as the next West Bengal Chief Minister on May 20. In alliance with the Congress, Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress gave a crushing defeat in the Assembly polls to the Leftists who had been in power for the past 34 years.

With 58,000 factories closed, there has been a flight of capital from West Bengal which has a debt of Rs two lakh crore, Mitra, who is also the Secretary General of industry chamber FICCI, said. He is expected to resign from the chamber soon.

When asked how would the Trinamool Congress government handle land acquisition– an issue against which farmers are agitating in different parts of the country– Mitra said farmers should not be dealt with by a crude state power.

He favoured the Haryana model where the industry buys land at market rate after negotiations with farmers who are also given annuity.

On restoring the state’s financial health, he hoped that Banerjee would be able to convince the Centre, where she is partner in the UPA government for a package.

He cited examples of Bihar, Assam and Punjab which were in similar financial problems and have since come out of the same.

“I am hoping the Prime Minister sit across the table with Mamata, who is a partner in the central government and with the piece of paper which lays out a plan of vision like other states have done…She will be able to negotiate matters,” he said.