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Brit envoy drops diplomacy, calls Bengal roads horrible

Brit envoy drops diplomacy, calls Bengal roads horrible

Not a decent road between two cities in the state, says senior official at seminar.

Kolkata: Outgoing British Deputy High Commissioner Simon Wilson on Monday rapped the West Bengal government for the pitiable state of infrastructure saying the roads here are "horrible and dangerous".

"The overall infrastructure in the state needs to be developed. This government has been there for the past 32 years. But there's not even a decent road between two cities of West Bengal. The condition of roads is horrible and dangerous," Wilson said during an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

The incumbent Left Front government, led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist, has had an uninterrupted rule since 1977.

Wilson felt the state government must take steps to develop infrastructure and focus on improvement of road connectivity within the state to attract domestic and foreign investment.

"West Bengal has a long way to go if it wants to attract more investment, not just from overseas companies but from within India itself. The next few years would be crucial.

"There's quite a lot to be done in terms of building hotels. The entire eastern India has terrific potential to become an excellent tourist destination. But there's no infrastructure available for the tourists."

"Kolkata is a great city with lots of heritage buildings. But there has to be a proper strategy to develop the infrastructure," said Wilson, who would be leaving for his next assignment within a month.

He said many British companies are well placed to offer consulting and other services including structuring innovative public-private partnership models in areas like urban and transport infrastructure, solid waste management, water utilities and environment protection.

first published:June 01, 2009, 17:38 IST