Tata’s ‘remarks’ on Mukesh’s home sparks controversy

LONDON/MUMBAI, may 22 (PTI): Ratan Tata’s purported remarks expressing surprise at fellow industrialist Mukesh Ambani living in a billion-dollar mansion in Mumbai has sparked off a controversy today. The Tata group Chairman was quoted by London’s Times newspaper as having said, “It makes me wonder why someone would do that. That’s what revolutions are made of. The person who lives in there should be concerned about what he sees around him and [asking] can he make a difference.
“If he is not, then it’s sad because this country needs people to allocate some of their enormous wealth to finding ways of mitigating the hardship that people have.” Tata, who bought the British steel maker Corus and car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) said, the widening gap between the rich and the poor in India worried him. “We are doing so little about the disparity. We are allowing it to be there and wishing it away.” However, Tatas disputed the reported attribution to its chairman, saying that the comments were taken out of context and factually incorrect.”We would also like to clarify on stories in Indian media regarding Mr Ambani’s home. The report is out of context and factually incorrect. Mr Tata’s comments on wealth are in the larger context of the growing disparity in the society. The comments seem to have been deliberately sensationalised.
“There have been words, individuals and statements that have not been mentioned by Mr Tata during the course of the interaction which are being attributed to him.  “We have already registered our protest with the concerned publication and will continue to pursue measures against the incorrect impressions being sought to be created,” a spokesperson of Tata Sons said in a statement.
‘Ambani’s Antilla an example of lack of empathy for the poor’
New Delhi, may 22 (PTI): Tata Group chairman, Ratan Tata took a dig at Mukesh Ambani and said the Reliance Industries chairman’s USD 1 billion home, Antilla, in Mumbai was an example of lack of empathy for the poor. Tata also said he was surprised Ambani wanted to live in such opulence home. The Times, London, reported that Tata described Ambani’s home as an example of rich Indians’ lack of empathy for the poor. “It makes me wonder why someone would do that,” the London-based Times quoted Tata as saying in an interview.
The 73-year old tycoon also expressed concern about the rich-poor gap and said, “We are doing so little about the disparity. We are allowing it to be there and wishing it away,” the London paper reported. Tata also hit out at the work culture of managers of British firms, Corus and JLR, and said “nobody is willing to go the extra mile” in critical situations, while their Indian counterparts would work till midnight in “a war-like situation”.
 “It’s a work-ethic issue. In my experience, in both Corus and Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR) nobody is willing to go the extra mile,” he said in the interview. Tata’s comments come at a time when the Tata Group has announced cutting of 1,200 jobs at Scunthorpe plant, as well as shedding 300 jobs at Teeside and Hartlepool sites of Corus. He added: “In India, if you are in a crisis, if it means working till midnight, you would do it. The worker in JLR seems to be willing to do that, the management is not.”
 “The entire engineering group at JLR would be empty on Friday evening, and you have got delays in product introduction. That’s the thing that doesn’t happen in China or in Indonesia or in Thailand or in Singapore,” he said. He lamented a lack of dynamism in industry, saying that Britain “needs a real push. It needs nationalism. The sort of spirit that comes during a war. It needs people really to want to see the UK sitting again, may be not as a colonial power, but as an economic power.”