Bengal minister says Ratan Tata 'has lost his mind'

Bengal minister says Ratan Tata 'has lost his mind'

Hits back at Tata Group supremo's comment on lack of industrialisation

Bengal minister says Ratan Tata 'has lost his mind'

The war of words between Ratan Tata and the Trinamool Congress government continued even six years after the Indian industry major shifted its small car factory from Singur in West Bengal to Sanand in Gujarat. 

Reacting harshly to Tata Group former chairman’s comment on lack of industrialisation in the state, state Finance Minister Amit Mitra called him “delusional” on Thursday.

Mitra, who said that Tata “has lost his mind”, countered the 73-year-old Chairman Emeritus of Tata Group by saying: “He is getting old and suffering from delusion. I don’t know why he cannot understand what is happening. Maybe he hasn't got the information. I don't know why he said this. 

Tata Consultancy Services has said it will create 20,000 jobs in a new campus. Maybe he hasn’t kept tabs,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a CII seminar.

Stating that Tata Metaliks has applied for an expansion of a project last week, he further said: “They want to expand. Doesn't he know Anil Ambani is investing here? If I give you a list, it will take all day. Is he not updated with the information and why is his own office not briefing him correctly? Perhaps he should concentrate on his other hobbies like flying planes.”

Mitra was reacting to a statement made by Tata at a Ladies Study Group event on Wednesday that shifting the Nano plant in 2008 was a good decision. 

“In hindsight, it was a prudent decision, given the hostile circumstances in Singur. But that move gave us a high negative cost,” he shared, calling it the biggest challenge of his career. 

Tata tweets

Tata, on his part, hit back at Mitra and said his anger was needless. “My comments referred to my drive from the airport to the Maurya via Rajarhat. I saw lots of residential and commercial development but not much industrial development,” the industrialist said on microblogging site Twitter. He added: “I made no comment about the industrial development in the state. Mitra’s comments are therefore surprising. He might believe that I have ‘lost my mind’. 

“I would be delighted if he could show me what industrial development projects I missed while driving through Rajarhat. If he cannot, then I would have to conclude that he has a very fertile imagination.”

State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim also took on the industrialist, saying, “We do not need Tata’s certificate on the industrial progress of West Bengal.” Tata Motors was forced to shift its Nano project following Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee’s agitation since 2006.

The Tatas were invited by the former Left government to Bengal to set up the factory in 2006 but agitation by locals against land acquisition, which was later taken up by Banerjee, led the project to be withdrawn in favour of Gujarat. 

It is widely believed that the movement and subsequent agitations paved the way for the Trinamool to come to power in 2011, ousting the Left.