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Bengal gets investment proposals worth Rs 2.43 lakh cr

Mamata says ‘no’ to SEZ status for projects to protect interest of farmers.

Written by Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay | Kolkata |
Updated: January 9, 2015 2:03:25 am
Mamata Banerjee greets industrialists at the Bengal Global Business Summit in Kolkata on Thursday. (Source: PTI) Mamata Banerjee greets industrialists at the Bengal Global Business Summit in Kolkata on Thursday. (Source: PTI)

West Bengal has received total investment proposals worth Rs 2.43 lakh crore during the two-day Bengal Global Business Summit, which concluded here on Thursday.

“The state has received investment proposals worth around Rs 2.43 lakh crore. These proposals are spread across sectors like education, health, mining, steel, port, urban infrastructure, food processing, power, infrastructure, MSME, financial services, tourism and hospitality,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said at the concluding session of the summit held at the Helipad Ground in Salt Lake.

However, despite IT majors like Infosys or Wipro insisting on SEZ status for their projects at Rajarhat, Mamata announced that she was ready to give away land for free but will not award SEZ status to any company, as it was against her government’s policies.

Both Infosys and Wipro had received 50 acres of land at Rajarhat and have already paid for the same. They have made it clear that unless given SEZ status, they will not go ahead with the projects.

“IT companies who insist on SEZ should understand that it is an issue here and people are averse to it. You ask for other facilities, I can even give you land for free but I cannot give SEZ status, as we have to protect the interests of farmers,’’ Mamata said.

She added: “Why SEZs? There are other options as well. We have asked the Centre for income tax exemption and we will give the land free of cost and other incentives.”

Claiming that total amount of investment proposals that the state has received in the two days has touched Rs 2.43 lakh crore, Mamata said: “Yesterday, it was Rs 96,600 crore… with the proposals that we received today, it is now Rs 2.43 lakh crore. In two to three years, all these investments will generate employment for over one crore people. Over 10 lakh young men will be trained in skill development.”

She went on to apologise for the “legacy” of the debt burden her government has inherited from the erstwhile Left front government. A lot of development work has been thwarted as the state government has to pay Rs 28,000 crore every year as debt repayment, she said.

“If we consider the debt burden the state is facing, then Bengal’s performance is number one not only in India but also in the world in terms of growth in all sectors. The summit shows the same, as it has attracted captains of industries from across the country,” the CM added.

Mamata announced that the state has set up a core team to monitor the progress of the investment proposals. “While every three months I will review the progress of the proposals, I have also set up a committee comprising my finance minister, the chief secretary and members of my industrial core committee, who will periodically review the same.

They will remove all bottlenecks and translate the proposals into actual projects,’’ she added.

The CM claimed that “if not today or tomorrow”, the world business community will be happy to invest in Bengal.

“There is no need to go anywhere… Please do not forget and please do not misunderstand us,” she said.

Mamata told investors that land was readily available for projects in the manufacturing sector. “Land is available everywhere for the manufacturing sector. If land is taken forcibly, then there will be scuffle. Negotiation is the proper route. We have just given 4,000 acres to SAIL for its expansion plan at Burnpur,” she said.

Regarding the power situation, the CM said: “Many people say that the state is surplus on this front as there is no industry. I want to ask them, if there is no industry, then how so many investors and businessmen have assembled here for the summit?… We welcome constructive criticism, but not negativism.”

Key Proposals

Healthcare: Rs 2,710 crore
Education: Rs 1,437 crore
Food processing: Rs 1,600 crore
Financial Hub at
Rajarhat: Rs 1,000 crore
Tourism and
Hospitality: Rs 1,850 crore

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