September 3, 2008

Cheap Car Plan Hits Trouble

THE new owners of Jaguar Land Rover are facing a big setback in their attempts to produce the world's cheapest car in India.

Tycoon Ratan Tata wanted the Nano to sell for just over pounds 1,200 and hoped to bring cheap motoring to the masses.

But yesterday fierce protests over land rights halted construction of the new plant in West Bengal where the Nano was to be built.

Tata Motors said work had ground to a halt from August 28 as fewer and fewer labourers turned up for work and several international consultants working on the plant flew home.

The official decision to suspend construction was taken yesterday.

A spokesman for Tata Motors said: "The situation around the Nano plant continues to be hostile and intimidating.

"There is no way this plant could operate efficiently unless the environment became congenial and supportive of the project.

"We came to West Bengal hoping we could add value, prosperity and create job opportunities in the communities in the State."

The firm is now looking at alternative sites for the factory.

It admitted that the "existing environment of obstruction, intimidation and confrontation" was making it difficult for the company to persuade senior managers to relocate to the plant.

Construction of the new factory has been underway since early last year at Singur, West Bengal on a vast 1,000 acre site.

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