Mamata Banerjee pitches for investment in West Bengal, North-east

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on January 18, 2018

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, along with industrialists, during the inauguration of the Bengal Global Business Summit 2018, on Tuesday. -. Debashish Bhaduri

Bengal Global Business Summit draws top industrialists but was devoid of Central Ministers

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday made a pitch for investments in the eastern region and not just for West Bengal.

“Invest in Bengal. Bengal means business. But, also invest in the other eastern states like Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand. They too have a lot of potential,” the Chief Minister said.

Investment in the east and particularly, West Bengal would mean a better connectivity to the North-Eastern States and improved regional connectivity to neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar; and to ASEAN nations like Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore and others.

Incidentally, Banerjee’s pitch was made from the Bengal Global Business Summit, an annual investors meet organised by the State government; and one that was devoid of attendance by any Central minister or senior Central government bureaucrat.

Union Road Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari who was supposed to attend the event also boycotted it after reports of clashes between the BJP and TMC in West Bengal over the last few days.

However, top-line industrialists like Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries; steel magnate LN Mittal; Ajay Singh, Chairman, SpiceJet; Uday Kotak, CMD, Kotak Mahindra Bank; Future Group’s Kishore Biyani and Sajjan Jindal, Chairman, JSW Group were present at the event.

Also present were city businessmen that included the likes to Sanjiv Goenka, Chairman, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group; Sanjiv Puri, CEO, ITC Ltd; CS Ghosh, MD and CEO, Bandhan Bank; Saroj Poddar, Chairman, Adventz Group; Umesh Chowdhary, MD of Titagarh Wagons; and others.

Red Carpet for Industry

Banerjee, however, was clear that while she was ready to roll out the red carpet for industry, agriculture had to coexist.

According to the Chief Minister, industry and industry captains would not be hounded in the state. And even, her party members would not be spared if they tried to disrupt industry.

“Industry can not be disturbed at any cost. And even my party members will not be spared if they try to disturb industry,” she said.

However, agriculture too has to coexist. “Industry and agriculture are like sisters and they need to be happy together,” the Chief Minister said.

Investment Commitments

So far, West Bengal has secured investment commitments to the tune of over ₹15,000 crore.

While Sajjan Jindal’s JSW Group committed to drawing up an investment plan of ₹10,000 crore to be made towards steel, cement and paints.

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd committed to an additional ₹5,000 crore of investments in non-Jio business; apart from investing towards laying of optical fibre cable network for Jio services.

Sanjeev Goenka, Chairman of RP Sanjiv Goenka Group will invest ₹1,000 crore towards its power distribution business; and also promised to set up a FMCG park (whose investment has not yet been specified).

On the other hand, Saroj Poddar committed to another ₹1,000 crore of investments in the state.

SpiceJet, according to its Chairman, Ajay Singh, will explore making operational flight services from the Andal airport to Hyderabad and Bengaluru. It will also explore beginning sea plane services in the state.

Published on January 16, 2018

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