Kolkata: To prevent potential floodings from dampening its plans on the launch of the Tata Nano, the much-awaited small car, Tata Motors Ltd has raised the floor level of its factory at Singur in West Bangal without waiting for the state government to meet its promise on providing drainage facilities.
Towards the end of 2007, Tata Motors had decided to raise the floor level of all its shop floors at Singur, where it proposes to manufacture the car. With this, the company has sorted out the biggest problem that could have delayed the launch of the car, according to government officials in Kolkata.
“We are still keeping fingers firmly crossed (over possible floods), but the plinth level of the factory has now been raised above the highest recorded flood level at Singur,” said Sabyasachi Sen, principal secretary of West Bengal’s commerce and industries department. “Unless we face unprecedented flooding, the factory shouldn’t have a problem this year,” he added.
A spokesperson for Tata Motors said: “The plinth level of the plant has been raised, in the light of our experience during the previous monsoon, by approximately 2m above the ground level.” He did not provide more details.
Singur is a low-lying area, and, according to the state government, flooding is a “perennial” problem there. On 1 January, the government had made a commitment to implement a Rs170 crore project at Singur to prevent floodings and provide irrigation facility to farmers. It had requested Tata Motors to share the cost.
The government had also said work on providing drainage facility there would start “immediately” and include “re-excavation of existing canals and installation of heavy- duty pumping systems”.
But the government project, which was to be completed before the onset of monsoon, is way behind schedule, according to an official at the state commerce and industries department, who did not wish to be named. “Tata Motors chose to make its own arrangements because water-logging this monsoon would have made it impossible for the company to launch the car before Puja (the biggest festival for Bengalis that normally takes place in October),” he added.
Last year, flooding stalled work at the factory for several days as Julkia, a nearby canal, overflowed. Julkia and a couple of other heavily silted canals have not been excavated for years, and overflow every monsoon.