LONDON (TIP): Leading Indian industrialist Ratan Tata has been felicitated by the city of Coventry with its highest award in recognition of his contributions to the West Midlands region of central England.
The Tata Group Chairman Emeritus took oath as an Honorary Freeman of the City of Coventry, an award only 13 people have been conferred with since 1914.
Tata, 77, was honoured alongside Indian-origin professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, founder of the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), at the University of Warwick in Coventry, at a special ceremony at Coventry Cathedral last week.
“Recognising two people who have helped in the regeneration of the city is a way of celebrating all that is good about the city and its future,” said Coventry Lord Mayor, Councillor Michael Hammon.
Earlier this year, Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) had reaffirmed its long term commitment to Coventry and the West Midlands with a confirmation of a further 600-million-pound investment to support product creation and advanced vehicle manufacturing.
TATA group is also among key contributors to a new 150-million-pound National Automotive Innovation Centre under construction on the University of Warwick campus.
Professor Sir Nigel Thrift, Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick, said, “Coventry and much of the rest of our region has gained greatly through the vision of these two men. Mr Ratan Tata has transformed the fortunes of Jaguar Land Rover and part of that transformation has seen new jobs created for our city and region and strong new research partnerships pioneered with Professor Lord Bhattacharyya that are creating world leading engineering technologies”.
Councillor Ann Lucas, Leader of Coventry Council, added, “The vision, leadership and commitment of Mr Tata and Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has been instrumental in placing Coventry on a world stage. Growing the city’s economy is fundamental to achieving our aim of becoming a top 10 city we are delighted to award Mr Tata and Professor Lord Bhattacharyya the highest honour in recognition of their impact on the city. We truly value their friendship”.
The two men travelled to Coventry Cathedral from the city’s Council House in a 1955 Jaguar Mark VIIM, a car owned by Queen Elizabeth II’s late mother.
“Mr Tata and Professor Lord Bhattacharyya have made a huge contribution to the British automotive industry, and even more significantly have planted some of the seeds for automotive research, innovation and advanced manufacturing in the future,” said JLR CEO Ralf Speth.