The media went berserk after the Mumbai attacks. Taj Mahal hotel was under siege for 60 hours by a handful of gunmen. That had hampered the reputation and inducedÂ fear in tourist’s mind. Would the business and atmosphere at Taj be the same again? Adding to this was the Tata Nano fiasco in West Bengal.
Tata Nano, the car the world is waiting for, hit a roadblock in 2008. West Bengal government has granted 1000 acre land to Tata Motors for building the plant. Tata Nano business model is a lean model. It has invited its suppliers to build their shops around the main factory so that the cost of logistics would be trimmed down. That would put the final price of the car at 1 lakh.Â Mamatha Banerjee had other ideas. She did not get the whole supply chain thing for whatever reasons. So, she picked up few farmers and went on strike at the Tata plant. Tata has to return 400 acres to the farmers. Since the factory was almost built, Tata cannot absorb losses and go back. So it is win-win situation as per Ms.Banerjee. Can we blame her? That is what is happening in India so far.
Nano fiasco along with the Taj incident made 2008 a forgettable year for Tata. But, Is it really? What if I were to say :Â 2008 is a year Tata’s would like to remember. In fact, whole of India Inc would remember 2008.
When was the last time someone stood up to a politician or a hunger strike and got something done? I don’t remember any such incident. An agitation or a strike, backed by politics almost certainly would produce the desired results. This is 100% guarantee in India till 2008.
Ratan Tata, stood up to Mamatha’s agitation. He said, the factory needs 1000 acres and that’s what I am gonna get. It could be in Bengal or some place else. Everyone thought he is bluffing. Some thought the price of Nano would go up as the supply chain would become expensive. Some even thought Mamatha would have her way and get back the 400 acres.
Ratan Tata is no poker player and he ain’t bluffing. Tata abandoned half built factory and took his Nano to Gujarat. Thanks to pro-growth Narender Modi. For the first time in Indian history, politics took a back seat. Growth took the driver seat.
This unprecedented event almost went unnoticed. Everyone is too busy figuring out Tata’s losses. Ratan Tata has won something no one else had dared to.
PSÂ : The best industrialist of the year goes to : Ratan Tata.Â The best Gujarati of the year goes to : Mamatha Banerjee.