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Corporate honchos gung-ho about investing in Bengal

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on January 19, 2018 Published on January 08, 2016

Dignitaries at the Bengal Global Business Summit 2016, welcomed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (background). Mukesh Ambani and Sajjan Jindal are among those present ASHOKE CHAKRABARTY

Likes of Reliance, Airtel, ITC promise big investments on Day 1 of Bengal Summit

Telecom, urban and social infrastructure, IT, hotel, food processing, roads and logistics were some of the prominent areas of investment promised in West Bengal on the first day of the Bengal Global Business Summit.

Telcos such as Reliance Jio Infocomm and Airtel, diversified conglomerate ITC Ltd, as well as infrastructure major Essel promised investment worth over ₹12,000 crore.

This apart, Shriram group reaffirmed its commitment to develop a ₹6,500-crore township at Uttarpara. The Chatterjee Group promised to invest ₹20,000 crore in a refinery at Haldia.

A few Japanese companies said they would invest in agri-warehousing and logistics. Japan was the partner country of this year’s investment summit.

Reliance & Airtel

The top draw of this year’s summit was Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director, Mukesh Ambani. The group has already invested ₹5,000 crore through Reliance Jio to lay 12,500 km high-speed optical fibre network connecting a little over half of the 40,000 villages.

According to Ambani, in the second phase, the group will ensure data connectivity across every village, all colleges (2,800), schools, hospitals, health centres and small and medium industries spread over the State.

Ambani did not mention the amount of investments, but said they will materialise over the next two years.

“At present, 24,339 villages out of 40,000, and 1,059 towns have been connected through 12,500 km of optical fibre. We will connect all the remaining villages by 2017,” he said.

Telecom major Airtel has committed ₹3,500-crore investment in 3G, 4G network and telecom tower installations in the State over the next three years, Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice-Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, said.

Airtel, according to Mittal, has already invested nearly ₹9,000 crore in the State and has rolled out 13,000 km of optical fibre. It has also launched 4G services in Kolkata.

ITC expanding

According to YC Deveshwar, Chairman, ITC Ltd, his company has invested ₹4,500 crore across its integrated consumer goods manufacturing and logistics unit, two food-processing units, an under-construction super premium luxury hotel covering 1.5 million square feet, and an IT facility at Rajarhat.

“The upcoming hotel will be called ITC Royal Bengal. Another 3.5 million sq. feet is being created for ITC Infotech too,” he said.

Infra projects

Meanwhile, the Subhash Chandra-led Essel Group also committed to investing ₹4,000 crore over the next two years. While ₹3,000 crore worth of MoUs have been inked for building roads, another ₹1,000 crore will be spent towards urban infrastructure projects. Group arm Essel Infraprojects will also explore investment opportunities in tourism and smart city projects.

Published on January 08, 2016
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