Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday embarked on a ten-day trip to Germany and Italy.
Speaking to reporters outside the Kolkata airport, she said, “I don’t like going outside Bengal and I feel sad to do that. However, we have to reach out to people in other countries to attract investment for our state and create employment opportunities. Our government holds the Bengal Global Business Summit annually and about 30-40 countries take part in it. Representatives of these countries also invite us to visit their country. We have received invitations to visit Russia, Poland and USA. But we cannot go to all these places. So we respond to one or two invites per year.”
Mamata is scheduled to visit Frankfurt and Milan from September 16 to 26. “This time we are going to Germany and Italy. It only takes a one-hour flight from Germany to reach Italy. In a single trip, we will be able to visit two countries. We have several business meetings lined up in these two countries to discuss investment opportunities in Bengal. We will return on September 27. I have constituted a committee comprising ministers and government officials who will monitor the state,” she added, referring the committee set up to cope with emergencies in her absence.
The committee, under the chairmanship of state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee, includes Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee, Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, Transport Minister Suvendhu Adhikary, PWD Minister Aroop Biswas and six others. Meanwhile, BJP demanded that the state government release a “white paper” on foreign trips undertaken by Mamata.
“The chief minister is undertaking foreign trips on public money. This is taxpayers’ money and the state government is spending it on organising festivals. We want to know how much money has been spent on her foreign trips and how much investment such trips have attracted for the state. We demand that a white paper be released in this regard,” said state BJP president Dilip Ghosh.