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Tuesday, Feb 03, 2004

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`Perception panel' to spruce up Bengal image

Our Bureau

Kolkata , Feb. 2

THE Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has set up a new "Perception Committee" under Mr Aniruddha Lahiri, Vice-President of the chamber and Managing Director, ABP Ltd, to work in close co-operation with the West Bengal Government to address the major issue of image perception, admitted by even the Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadev Bhattacharjee, as a major deterrent for fresh investments.

Addressing newspersons here on Monday on the new initiatives being launched by the chamber to turn Bengal into a major investment destination in the near future, Mr Biswadip Gupta, new president of the chamber said the committee was now giving final touches to a data-centric first-stage blueprint, expected to be ready by the month end. Mr Gupta said the committee, which comprises some top professionals in fields such as marketing and image management, was now working closely with the State Government as partners to help frame policies to attract greater investments in the region.

The chamber is also planning roadshows to showcase the success stories of the State so far in different fields.

Mr Gupta said some eight major programmes have been lined up for this year, including the signature events such as the metals seminars and the 3-day health & well being shows, which were a runaway success last year.

The programmes, he clarified, have been designed to be topical and relevant to the State's industries, will induce material perception changes and also be financially rewarding for the chamber.

Confirming that the three fresh initiatives started last year, such as development of the Taratalla industrial area, Durgapur initiative and the North Bengal development programme were now proceeding smoothly, Mr Gupta said the Chamber has already started discussions with the Government of India, jointly with the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC), for bringing Taratolla under the national industrial cluster scheme, to convert the area into a major manufacturing hub in eastern India.

In the case of North Bengal, with huge potential in agriculture and tourism, BCCI has taken up a new programme for alternative farming, and a document was being submitted to the State Government.

On the perception front, Mr Lahiri said there was an urgent need to set right the communication gap that now existed and market the eastern region as a whole, and Bengal in particular, for new investors to come in and exploit the potential.

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