Our Bureau

Kolkata, Jan. 11

THE process of kick-starting the business agenda of West Bengal all afresh in 2005 is set to get a major boost here on Wednesday.

The 11th in the series of CII Partnership Summits, and the third in West Bengal, after the last one at 1997 in which the British Prime Minister, Mr John Major, had participated, beginning on Wednesday, is expected to showcase West Bengal's capabilities developed over the last seven years to the international community in a big way.

Dr Sabyasachi Sen, Principal Secretary, Department of Commerce & Industry, West Bengal, told newspersons here that after pursuing the matter for more than a year, an agreement was finally going to be signed at the three-day CII Summit on Wednesday with Tata Steel, in the presence of Mr Ratan Tata, over the setting up of a coke oven plant by the Tatas at Haldia.

Asked to elaborate, Mr B. Muthuraman, Managing Director, Tata Steel and Chairman of the 11th Partnership Summit, said a detailed announcement would be made after the signing of the agreement.

Dr Sen, admitting that Bengal still needed to do a lot of catching up especially with regard to infrastructure development, for investments in the manufacturing sector, said the summit returns to Kolkata at a time when the State was witnessing tremendous economic and industrial resurgence, "and is back on the investor's radar". He said the Chief Minister and his senior colleagues would be at the summit throughout the three days.

Mr Muthuraman said the various business sessions would deliberate on various issues such as WTO, Indo-British relations, India's competitiveness, world economic outlook, Asean and India, partnership with NRIs, India and the EU, Middle East and the US and the role of patents in society and commerce.

Among the key speakers at the summit are Mr Kweek Leng Joo, President, Singapore Chamber of Commerce, Mr Karan Billimoria, Co-Chairman, Indo-British Partnership and chairman of Cobra Beer, Prof Lord Bhattacharya, Head, Warwick Manufacturing Group, Sir Digby Jones, DG, Confederation of British Industry, Mr Thierry Courtaigne, Managing Director, MEDEF International of France, and Judge Hugh Laddie, Chief Judge of the Patent Court, UK.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 12, 2005)
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