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2-min read

Bengal Ready to Replace Country’s Top Investment Destinations, Says Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was speaking at the inaugural session of the 4th edition of Bengal Global Business Summit in the city even as top business leaders like Mukesh Ambani, Lakshmi Mittal, Uday Kotak and Sajjan Jindal flanked her on the dais.

Sougata Mukhopadhyay | CNN-News18

Updated:January 16, 2018, 11:41 PM IST
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Bengal Ready to Replace Country’s Top Investment Destinations, Says Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee speaking at the Bengal Global Business Summit on Tuesday. (Twitter: @MamataOfficial)
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Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that the country’s most favoured investment destinations have exhausted themselves to extend any cooperation to industry and her state is most suited to take their place.

Banerjee was speaking at the inaugural session of the 4th edition of Bengal Global Business Summit in the city even as top business leaders like Mukesh Ambani, Lakshmi Mittal, Uday Kotak and Sajjan Jindal flanked her on the dais.

The two-day summit is being attended by 32 nations, including nine partner countries of Europe and Asia. Close to Rs 20,000 crore investment commitments in the state was made at the inaugural session itself.

Despite the conspicuous absence of a central minister at the summit, Banerjee called the show “top of the top” clarifying this was the best performance of the state compared to the three previous editions.

Union Roads and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, who had reportedly confirmed participation initially, backed out following recent clashes between the Trinamool Congress and BJP in the state.

The other highlight of day one of the summit were the slogans coined by top industrialists while showering heaps of praises for what they felt was a “changed business environment in the state under the current political leadership”. While Mukesh Ambani maintained that West Bengal was steadily headed towards becoming “Best Bengal”, Niranjan Hiranandani, MD of the Hiranandani Group, hailed Banerjee’s leadership as “Super Se Upar”.

“These words of praises only add to prestige of Bengal which the people of this state so richly deserve. We are doing all this to ensure employment for our future generation,” Banerjee said in the sidelines of the summit.

Ambani promised an investment of Rs 5000 crores in the Reliance Group’s non-Jio businesses over the next three years in the state besides confirming that Jio services would reach every individual of Bengal by the end of this year and every education and health institution by the end of the next. He also extended assurances of setting up a hub for manufacturing telecom equipment in the state and sponsoring a chair in honour of physicist Satyendra Nath Bose in a top Bengal university.

While Sajjan Jindal confirmed that JSW Steel has finalised a blueprint of Rs 10,000 crore investment over the next two to three years, Sanjiv Goenka, chairman of the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, pitched in with an investment promise of Rs 1,000 crore in power sector infrastructure.

Asked about the absence of Centre’s representatives at the summit, state finance minister Amit Mitra said: “It only makes sense for them to come if they have a major policy announcement to make. Else their presence only becomes participation for the sake of it.”

Mitra confirmed that the Bengal government has received proposals of interest in various sectors from the Adani group and is hoping they would follow it up with real action. “The group already has some 700-800 crore investment in the food processing sector here. But for a group as big as Adani we consider it too little. We hope to see some more activity from their side,” the finance minister said.

Asked if there was something to be read between lines behind Lakshmi Mittal refraining from quoting concrete investment figures, Mitra said: “A person of his stature doesn’t fly into a city at 8.30 in the morning for a mere visit. He surely has something in mind and with time we will know what that is.”

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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