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Fueling speculation that the Tata protests last week may have been much more effective than originally reported, India's Tata Motors Ltd has said it will move the upcoming Tata Nano plant from its planned eastern India location if the violent protests don't end. The tension is between the industry that is pushing for the 1,000-acre plant and the farmers who wish to retain the land for agricultural use. After the unveiling of the plant in January, which was hailed by the state's ruling Communists, the protests have been gathering steam. It eventually led to the violent clash last week as more than 1,000 people marched against the planned facility. The announcement from Tata Motors is significant as the company has invested more than 1,500 crore rupees ($350 million) in the project so far, and there is no alternate plan to replace the facility at Singur (although the Nano is going to be manufactured at other plants, as well). In addition, other manufacturers who are expanding into India (including Nissan, Renault, GM, and Hyundai) are watching the unfolding events very closely as they plan their next moves.

[Source: Automotive News, subs. req'd]

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