MAC: Mines and Communities

Tata, govt to sit again

Published by MAC on 2006-07-06

Tata, govt to sit again

The Daily Star (Bangladesh)

6th July 2006

The Indian conglomerate giant Tata's Bangladesh Project Director Manzer Hossain yesterday ruled out the media reports about the group's intention to withdraw the proposal for investment in Bangladesh and said the government will sit with them on July 10 to make its position on the proposed $3 billion investment clear.

A high-powered team from Tata Group headed by its Executive Director Alan Rosling will visit Bangladesh to meet government officials. The Tata officials are expecting a positive response from the government at the meeting.

The group is still optimistic about the proposed investment project in Bangladesh despite the uncertainty that seems to be looming large due to the government's unusual delay in giving an approval.

Manzer Hossain said the media interprets things on its own while Tata Group and the government have yet to make their positions clear.

He expressed the group's concern over the government's delay saying that nobody can wait an indefinite period of time to invest. "The delay is definitely a cause of concern for Tata Group but we are still optimistic about the project," Manzer told the Daily Star yesterday.

Local news agency the UNB, quoting an Indian newspaper, said, "Tata Group has finally decided to withdraw an ambitious three billion dollar investment proposal for undertaking several big ventures in Bangladesh, following delays in taking a decision by the host country."

Meanwhile, the government is delaying the signing of an agreement with Tata considering it a 'risky deal' preceding the upcoming election.

Energy Ministry Adviser Mahmudur Rahman told the media that the government may reach a consensus with the group so that the next elected government can sign an agreement after assuming office.

Tata Group in its latest revised ambitious proposal had asked the government to reply by the end of May this year but the government failed to reply within the deadline.

The conglomerate on April 20 this year formally submitted its initial proposal to invest $2.5 billion for setting up a 1,000MW power station, a steel mill with 4,20,000 ton annual production capacity and a fertiliser unit with one million ton production capacity.

The Bangladesh government and Tata Group agreed to kick off formal negotiations on May 25 and to wind it up by August 31 to clear the way for signing an agreement before November 30 this year.

Tata is one of the top-most industrial groups in India with over 90,000 crore rupee annual turnover, and over 2.2 lakh employees. In the last 50 years there has been no strike in its 91 companies.

Ratan Tata, chairman of the corporate house, visited Bangladesh last October to discuss the investment proposal with the Bangladesh authorities.

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