Ratan Tata hits back as Bengal leaders call him 'delusional'

Ratan Tata, a doyen of Indian business and chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, today reacted to comments by West Bengal's finance and industries minister Amit Mitra that he was ''suffering from delusion'' after Tata blamed the Trinamool Congress government for the failure of industry in the state.

Tata said in a tweet that Mitra's ''anger is needless'', adding that he never spoke of industrial development in West Bengal but only made some remarks on Wednesday evening on the basis of what he saw on his drive from airport to the city via Rajarhat.

Addressing a business conference in Kolkata, Tata had said the group's much-publicised mini-car Nano failed to take off not because of any deficiency in its make or marketing, but due to the agitation at Singur.

Once seen as the future of urban mobility and creating a global sensation, the Nano, when finally launched, sold very poorly, and has long been overtaken by low-priced cars from rival manufacturers.

Ratan Tata blamed the farmer's agitation led by the then opposition leader and now chief minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee in 2008 that forced the shifting of the project to Sanand in Gujarat.

"The shifting of the plant had a very high negative cost to us, in the sense that when we launched the Nano it created global excitement and we had 3 lakh of orders with full payment and a waiting list of two years when we announced the product.

''In the years that we lost in moving from Singur to Sanand much of the excitement died with it. People disbelieved that there was any such product, while competitors got a chance to bad-mouth our product in its absence from the market," Tata had said.

In typical Trinamool fashion, Mitra said Tata was suffering from delusion and advised him to indulge in his hobby of flying; while the state's urban development minister Firhad Hakim said the veteran industrialist might have "lost his mind" after retiring as chairman of the conglomerate.

"He should carry on with his hobby of flying. I am surprised that his company officials did not brief him properly. He does not know about the expansion of his own group companies in West Bengal ... he is suffering from delusion," Mitra told media persons in Kolkata.

In response Tata today posted on Twitter: ''My comments yesterday referred to my drive from the airport to the Maurya via Rajarhat. I saw lots of residential and commercial development but not much industrial development.

"I made no comment about the industrial development in the state. Mitra's comments are therefore surprising.

''Mitra might believe that I have 'lost my mind'. I would be delighted if he could show me what industrial development projects I missed while driving through Rajarhat. If he cannot, then I would have to conclude that he has a very fertile imagination," Ratan Tata tweented.