West Bengal and Singapore governments Tuesday decided to jointly set up a business centre in Kolkata as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to discuss industry, business and trade. Mamata said the business centre will come up in 18 months. Lee has been invited to inaugurate the centre.
“The meeting with Singapore Prime Minister was positive and fruitful. We have invited Mr Lee to visit our state. We told him about the progress made by Changi Airports International in the construction of Andal airport,” Mamata, who arrived in Singapore Monday on her first overseas visit after assuming office in 2011, said.
She said she told Lee that Bengal government wants to create a Chair at Calcutta University “in the name of his father and the first Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew”.
According to Mamata, Lee inquired about the multi- national corporations (MNCs) working in Bengal. “We informed Mr Lee about the total scenario. We have focused on industry, business and trade. We have told the Singapore PM about our land bank, land map and power bank. Bengal is endowed with hills, forests, rivers and sea coast,” Mamata said
She said she told Lee about investment opportunities in Bengal. “We have a lot of scope for tourism. Since the time difference between Kolkata and Singapore is just two and a half hours, it will be an important advantage in business. We also told him that the loss of mandays in Bengal have come down from 78 lakhs to zero. We also informed him about our GDP growth and other such statistics,” Mamata said, adding she also told the Singapore PM that this was her first foreign trip in the last 15 years.
She said the Singapore PM wished her and the Bengal well and hoped that state’s business meeting Wednesday would be a success. “We chose Singapore for investment destination because of geographical, historical, political and cultural reasons. We have requested Mr Lee to make Kolkata a part of the diamond jubilee celebrations of India-Singapore ties,” she said.
The ‘India and Singapore 50 years of Diplomatic Relations’ celebrations was inaugurated by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Singapore Foreign Minister K Shanmugam last Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Bengal government is planning to set up a Focus Centre for Singapore-based investors to let them know about the laws, facilities and policies of the state. “It would act as a single-window centre, and will work in close coordination with 25-30 departments of the state government,” said Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra.
He said businessmen travelling in the Chief Minister Banerjee’s delegation were holding meetings with Singapore-based businessmen. “It is clear from many of the meetings that there is a positive outlook about Bengal here,” he said. On continued…