Vol. 5 Num 923 Sun. December 31, 2006  

We need a Tata

They are the proud owners of a full-fledged sports academy where eight sporting events are being preached to budding talents by a dedicated group of coaches, they have got a separate football academy, and the success rate of it in terms of feeding future stars both in national level and for clubs is amazing. They are committed to organise different sporting competitions among the youths of what they call 'Busti community'. They have got a Bachendri Pal who has not only scaled TO THE TOP OF THE WORLD but now gracefully lives to tell the mere mortals 'if you can climb a mountain you can do everything'. They have picked youths with bows and arrows from remote villages to turn them into world-beaters in a game called archery.

However, the beauty of it is that it's not a government organ but a corporate organisation, which is putting in all the efforts in the small township of Jamshedpur.

It may sound unrealistic for someone associated with sports in Bangladesh, but for seven journalists it was a stunningly refreshing experience during their three-day stay in what people fondly call the 'Tata nagari' (home of Tata Steel).

Tata Steel, the oldest and perhaps the strongest wing of the revered Tata conglomerate in India, needs no introduction to the corporate world. They are the 'champions' among the steel manufacturers for the second successive year.

But what struck the seven journalists including this reporter most was Tata's commitment to the development of social infrastructure and sport.

Initially we were a bit puzzled whether to accept their claim that they are the only social-corporate organisation in India after seeing prominent coverage in the newspapers about the hostile reception that Tata were getting in Singur (a small pocket of Hooghly district in Calcutta) while acquiring lands for their first-ever 'small car project'.

But the moment we reached Jamshedpur from Calcutta, where Mamata Banerjee was leading the hate-campaign in Singur, we were in for a shock for all the good reasons.

You will not find many places in the world where tap water is safe for drinking. But in Jamshedpur you can drink tap water without a second thought.

If water does not cost anything then medical facilities for the members of Tata Steel is absolutely free. And the state-of-the-art 1000-bed hospital is anybody's dream.

If you want to know the state of power supply then just imagine that the hospital does not have any generator in case of emergency because it has never experienced any load-shedding for 14 long years.

I don't know how many corporate houses presented a true gift like Tata, who offered a magnificent Jubilee Park that can easily accommodate both the Ramna Park and the Suhrawardy Udyan to mark its 75 years.

The input of Tata Steel to sport is a benchmark for others. Tata Football Academy scouts talents from all over India and then trains them for four years. The result speaks for itself -- eight of their cadets are now in the national football team.

Tata's sports academy is not as big as our BKSP (Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan) but their athletes definitely win more and bigger international laurels. They have got a 25,000-capacity stadium. But it was not built for business that is prominent in our country. They love to treasure the value of human excellence. Just walk through the main entrance and have a glance at the picture gallery you will be amazed to see the galaxy of stars that Tata have produced.

Recently Tata expressed its desire to establish a steel plant (in a package proposal) in Bangladesh for what it claimed to build a 'synergy' between the two neighbouring countries.

Definitely this is a policy-making decision of the highest authority. But as far as the sports fraternity of the country is concerned, we need corporate organisations like Tata for a much-needed boost in the country's sport.

At the advent of a new year we hope that at least one corporate house in the country come forward and express their desire to follow in the footsteps of the pioneering Indian business house.