Tata Motors issued a press release on Tuesday stating that politically charged protests have forced the company to suspend work at the factory, which was scheduled to produce the Nano city car. Production of the $2,500 Nano was to start within a matter of weeks but protests have risen over the acquirement of the land surrounding the factory.
The protests are powered by allegations that Tata forced farmers from their land, and handed out payments that were a fraction of the land’s value. Mamata Banerjee is the chief of the Trinamool Congress, the West Bengali political party staging the protest, and has demanded that Tata Motors return 400 acres of land surrounding the Nano factory to these farmers. But Tata insists that these lands are reserved for suppliers.
They state that by keeping suppliers close, the cost can stay down. Tata keeps backing up the fact that it has created jobs in the region and countless opportunities for the surrounding community. Just construction of the factory has already employed 4,000 local workers. Whether or not Tata can deal with this situation without too much damage remains to be seen.