Ahmedabad, Oct 7 (IANS) Nano, the small car of Tata Motors, will now roll out of Gujarat. Group chairman Ratan Tata made the announcement in state capital Gandhinagar Tuesday along with Chief Minister Narendra Modi, on the day he completed seven years in office.
The site chosen is Sanand, 30 km from the state's commercial capital Ahmedabad, on an area of some 1,100 acres.
A memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed between Tata Motors and the Gujarat government Tuesday. 'Welcome Nano,' read a poster behind the podium where the two sides signed the agreement.
'I don't see the entry of Nano as mere investment in Gujarat. I see it as a partnership between the Tatas and Gujarat - a partnership that would give a new direction and drive to our state's development,' said Modi.
'I welcome Ratan Tata and Tata Motors in the new endeavour, and in the progress of my state,' he said. 'I had wanted Nano project to roll out of India, irrespective of the state. And I am happy that they have chosen Gujarat.'
Ratan Tata said it was a momentous, happy and special day for Tata Motors.
'We had been through some sad experience. But so quickly and with so much enthusiasm, we now have a new home. Having this new home and this new pact on the seventh anniversary of the chief minister's leadership makes it a special occasion for us,' he said.
'We will be a good corporate citizen of Gujarat. We will be conscious of everything that Gujarat stands for and contribute to the good quality of life for its people,' he said.
'Given the kind of problems across the country, what we saw here was truly unbelievable.'
Tata said it would be the group's endeavour to roll out Nano as scheduled, even though it would take some time to build a new plant in Gujarat. 'It would be too premature to talk about when Nano will roll out of Gujarat,' he said.
'The chief minister has given us the goal. This is the smallest car in India and I want the project to be built at the shortest possible time. We won't be supersonic but build the plans soon,' he said.
'We will launch Nano as per schedule, even if we may not have the volumes.'
Tatas began scouting for an alternative site after pulling their project out of Singur in West Bengal following protests over the acquisition of farmland for the factory and threats to the company's employees, contractors and vendors.
Several states like Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra and Hayrana said they would roll out the red carpet should the Tata Motors agree to set up its project in their territories, but the group finally chose Gujarat.
The plant will produce 250,000 cars per annum initially and expand capacity to 500,000 cars a year. The project, including its vendor and service providers, will generate over 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, the company said.
'While awaiting the Sanand plant's completion, Tata Motors will explore the possibility of manufacturing Nano at its existing facilities at Pune and Pantnagar, and launch the car in the last quarter of this financial year.'
Soon after the announcement, farmers - who had sold land to Anand Agricultural University and from which, in turn, the Gujarat government bought the land back for the project - said they were happy Tata Motors have chosen Gujarat.
The state, one of India's most industrialised ones, accounts for five percent of the country's population and six percent of its geographical area but contributes to 16 percent of total investment and over 20 percent of its exports.
Some of the leading companies operating in areas like gems and jewellery, dairy, chemicals, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, cement, ceramics, engineering and textiles have their bases in the state.
The state attracted the maximum investment in the country in 2007-08, amounting to 22 percent, and over 100 projects worth a whopping Rs.624.42 billion ($13.85 billion) are under implementation, as per a recent study by the Reserve Bank of India.
Some of India's largest industrial houses like Reliance Industries, Aditya Birla Group, Essars and Adani, as also global players like Matsushita, ABB, Shell and Bombardier have a presence in the state.
Tata Motors is one of India's largest automobile companies with revenues of $8.8 billion. The company, which bought two iconic British brands Jaguar and Land Rover last year, has operations in the UK, Thailand, South Korea and Spain.