Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tatas will have to go: Mamata

“The Tatas will have to go,” Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said at a public meeting close to the site of the upcoming car manufacturing plant of Tata Motors at Singur in West Bengal’s Hooghly district on Tuesday.

She said and urged the peasants of the area to “remain united in your struggle for land, livelihood and self-dignity.” The meeting was convened to commemorate the death anniversary of teenager Tapasi Mallick, whose charred body was found within the automobile project site a year ago. The Trinamool has claimed that the teenager was a victim of the atrocities perpetrated by activists of the CPI(M) on supporters of the Krishi Jami Raksha (Protection of Farmland) Committee.

IMO:Trinamool has general support (mainly against CPI(M)(Communist party of India (Marxist splitoff from CPI)) by at least 15 other major parties.

“The CPI(M) will also have to go,” Ms. Banerjee said. The movements carried out against acquisition of farmland for industry at Singur and Nandigram had “drawn international attention and support.”

IMO: There is a fair measure of truth in the relevance of these matters. The new small car will effectively be funded, not by the would be purchasors, who sound like unwitting pawns of TATA, but by land revaluations, and eventual unwilling taxpayer support, directly or indirectly, by a Government that 3 million people have just shown can't even run a railway, and indeed - Suzuki still claim there is no way the car can reach its own quality standards, if indeed it is ever built for 1 lakh.

The UK Guardian/Observer predictably but correctly says in headline that the car "horrifies the green lobby". The car when new is about the price of a motorcycle over here and such a car could sell 7 million - and make the air unbreathable.

Tata of course claim that the car meets pollution levels but this is almost certainly false, bearing in mind the level of safety checks here and what simple statistics show. Anumita Roychoudhury, of the Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi, says "How will you be able to meet the safety and emissions standards? There are no clear answers yet."

IMO: I'm pretty clear that it will not meet standards at that cost. Why not an electric car ? Surely an electric version could solve many pollution problems but sounds not worth the time of those who simply want to make a fast buck.

The Singur car plant is currently guarded by 1500 men in uniform. The workman inside often don't seem to have a clue about the issues. Tata's previous performance has not been too bad, I do know the Pimpri/Cinchwad facility and it seems better than you would expect - from India. But times are changing, and they are hard times for the non wealthy around there today. In fact Pune has been turned into a filthy mess by vile capitalist greed in recent years, aside from Pimpri/Cinchwad. If Tata is following the existing trend as it stands in Pune, not only will the relatively decent clean area around Singur be ruined for good, and the world's ecology and environment be iretrievably damaged but he will lose money too. On the face of it, not only is the car an environmental fraud but Tata is racing against time for completion. The Calcutta Telegraph says "A full-fledged facility will need roads, buildings, electricity, water supply, sewage systems and countless similar infrastructure features." Well Tata will not have them if current Pune problems prove anything.

Even the Australian, which seems to be some kind of Fox News affiliate, and you cannot sink much lower, says "Tata 'cheapmobile' a green nightmare".

IMO: Really it could have all been done better and to the advantage of all.

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