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 Wednesday, a business seminar will be held on investment opportunities in Bengal.
Industry Land bank far from ready
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee may have boasted about Bengal’s land bank — thousands of acres of land free from any encroachment, and earmarked for setting up industries — in Singapore, but the fact is, the said ‘land bank’ is not yet ready. Sources in the government said that in her very first cabinet meeting, Mamata had decided to set up a land bank. However, despite writing 15 letters to all district magistrates and principal secretaries of all departments requesting them to furnish information regarding land under their possession, such records have not yet been furnished by 12 departments of the total 52 under the state government. The said 12 departments include relief and rehabilitation and PWD, which have large chunks of land under them. As per the records of the government, the state has got about 1 lakh acre of land under its possession that it can offer for setting up industries. However, the government never issued an advertisement, nor was there any government order, or a gazette notification about a land bank under its possession. (ENS)
Didi pays tribute at INA Memorial
Singapore: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday paid tribute at the Indian National Army (INA) Memorial here. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had laid the foundation stone of the INA Memorial on July 8, 1945, a few months before Singapore was recaptured by the British. Located within the Esplanade Park, the Monument was erected in 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II and is one of the 11 sites marked to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the end of WWII. The World War II plaque marks the site of the INA memorial, which was destroyed after the war, and is dedicated to an unknown soldier of the INA during the Japanese Occupation. (PTI)
Jurong Park like sanctuary soon
Singapore: West Bengal will set up a bird sanctuary within Rajarhat Eco Park on the lines of Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park, the world’s largest, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced here Tuesday. Mamata, after touring the world famous park, said the bird sanctuary at Rajarhat will come up over a five acre area. She said the state officials accompanying her have discussed the project with Jurong Bird Park authorities. “We already had planned the bird sanctuary. Now we will plan in a better way,” she said. Jurong Bird Park has more than 9,000 birds of 600 species including endangered ones like Toco Toucans, Caribbean Flamingos and Dalmatian Pelicans. (PTI)