NEW DELHI (AP) _ India's largest automaker, Tata Motors Ltd.,
said Thursday it plans set up a plant in communist-ruled West Bengal
state to manufacture a family car that will cost little more than
The plant will be set up with an investment of 10 billion rupees
($220 million), and is expected to start production in two years,
said Ratan Tata, the company's chairman.
A prototype of the five-seater model to be made at the West
Bengal plant is undergoing tests at a Tata facility in the western
Indian city of Pune, Tata said, adding that the company aims to keep
the car's price below 100,000 rupees ($2,200).
The project will create about new 10,000 jobs at the plant and
vendor chains, he said.
Tata's investment is significant for West Bengal, which the
private sector has largely avoided since the communists came to
power in the late 1970s.
While the Left Front _ a coalition of parties led by the
Communist Party of India (Marxist) _ has been successful in its
efforts to reduce rural poverty in West Bengal, urban unemployment
has increased. Many businesses won't invest in the state, fearing
labour unrest and problems in dealing with the communist
But Tata, one of India's most respected businessmen, expressed
confidence that the state was the right place to establish a new
``We have come to believe that West Bengal is one of the most
investor-friendly states,'' he said. ``I think someone has to turn
this belief into a reality.''