Kolkata: Ratan Tata has "lost his mind", West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra has said, rattled by the top industrialist's comment that he has not noticed any industrial development in the state.
"Onar motibhrom hoyeche (Maybe he has lost his mind). Maybe he hasn't got the information. I don't know why he said this," Dr Mitra said on Wednesday. He went on to list investments by Tata Group companies like TCS, or Tata Consultancy Services, and Tata Metalicks. "If I give you a list, it will take all day. Perhaps (Mr Tata) should concentrate on his other hobbies like flying planes," he said disparagingly.
The minister was speaking on the sidelines of an industry meet hours after Mr Tata made comments critical of Bengal and his experience in Singur, where a farmers' agitation backed by Mamata Banerjee forced him to shift a Tata Nano plant to Sanand in Gujarat.
Mr Tata, the 73-year-old Chairman Emeritus of the Tata Group, said at an interaction in Kolkata that shifting the Nano plant in 2008 was a good decision and he would do it again.
"If you hold a gun to my head, you can pull the trigger or take the gun away. But the head will not move," he joked, repeating the words he used when he shifted the plant.
Three years after the Singur row, Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress took power in Bengal with a massive mandate.
Asked whether he had noticed any changes since then, Mr Tata replied, "There seems to be unbelievable change in terms of buildings and development. But it still looks like a countryside under development. It isn't as much lived in as yet. There is a great deal of movement, both commercial and residential. We don't see that much sign of industrial development."
The BJP in Bengal used the industrialist's observations to direct barbs at the state government. "Driving by Tata Motors' abandoned factory at Singur. What a HORRIBLE message abt West Bengal was sent out to the country!" tweeted the party's Tathagata Roy.