Our Bureau

Kolkata, Feb. 8

THE Centre has accepted a proposal from the West Bengal Government to promote "tea tourism" in the Dooars and Terai regions of North Bengal. A sum of Rs 80 crore has been approved for the project, which will entail the involvement of the private sector.

Stating this while addressing FICCI members, who were here to attend a National Executive Committee Meeting, the Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, said that the proposed "tea tourism" would combine eco-tourism and have facilities for golf lovers.

Mr Bhattacharjee responded to a nine-point action agenda for the State as identified by the FICCI and said that the was taking steps to ensure that Kolkata emerges as an appropriate hub for the success of the "Look East" policy.

The West Bengal Minister for Industry, Mr Nirupam Sen, would soon discuss concrete plans in this regard with the Planning Commission.

Mr Bhattacharjee said that the Centre had agreed to set up cold storages at the airports in Kolkata and Siliguri.

This would facilitate increased exports of agro products and flowers from West Bengal.

The State has six climatic zones and around 10 per cent of the agro production perishes owing to lack of processing and preservation infrastructure.

Efforts are being made to promote investment in cold storage chains in the State.

Mr Bhattacharjee also said that global players had shown interest in developing the transportation and logistics infrastructure in the State.

The idea also was create a logistics hub at Kona on the outskirts of Kolkata.

On its part, the FICCI has said that its offices in China, Malaysia, and Singapore could be used to promote and showcase West Bengal as an investment destination.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 9, 2005)
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