Reluctance to Exploit Tribal Lands Leads Cyrus Minstry’s Removal from Tata Group?
Cyrus Mistry’s unexpected removal as the chairman of the Tata Sons is a surprise to the corporate observers. In fact, the selection of Mistry, who is from outside Tata family, as the new leader of one of the largest conglomerates had generated the similar element of surprise four years back .
There are several speculations and “mysteries” about the circumstances that lead to the sacking of the Mistry. One common thread is Mistry’s mismatch with the “patrimonial” concerns of Tata brand of capitalism. A highly placed source in Tata group, on the condition of anonymity, confirmed to Narada news that Mistry’s reluctance to expand mining operations of Tata group in tribal heartland was also an important factor in the current crisis.
According to this source, minerals for Tata’s steel production is coming from politically sensitive Adivasi terrain. Mistry felt that Tata need not get its hand dirty by investing more in mining which is increasingly resisted by adivasis. The declining profits from steel manufacturing made Mistry reach a conclusion that it’s not worth taking a risk to invest more in mining operations. There are several recent cases in the mineral-rich tribal heartland where indigenous people resisted mining operations by using several constitutional provisions. Provisions of Panchayat Raj Act to Forest Rights Act (FRA) were employed by the Adivasis in their resistance. Apart from democratic resistance, corporates also had to face armed resistance from ultra-left groups.
However, Mistry’s move to minimise the mining operations made several big shots among old guard bitter because they had an “emotional attachment” with the steel production.