Bengal receives over Rs.93,000 crore commitment on day one of business summit

By Sarkaritel January 8, 2015 10:32

Bengal receives over Rs.93,000 crore commitment on day one of business summit

Kolkata, Jan 8 Badly needing investment to usher in development and jobs in the debt-stressed state, the West Bengal government Wednesday kick-started a fresh investors’ meet roping in business representatives from 20 countries besides India.

By the end of the day, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed to have received commitment of over Rs.93,000 crore, none of which was from the private sector.

The day one of the two-day summit was attended by over 1,000 business delegates, as also leading figures of the central government – Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley and Shipping, Highways and Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.

“The minister of shipping today announced projects in Bengal for Rs.41,600 crore, then (state-run) SAIL announced investing Rs.40,000 crore,” Banerjee said in her speech that brought the curtains on the day’s proceedings.

Refering to Jaitley’s comment in the summit that Bengal would be a major beneficiary of the coal block auction which is in the offing, Banerjee said: “If you add the share of the auction of coal blocks of Rs.12,000 crore it (the total commitment on the opening day of the summit) will Rs.93,600 crore only for today.”

“If in one day it is more than one lakh crore, tomorrow it will be more than our expectations,” she said giving the closing address on day one of the two-day summit here.

Earlier in the day, Banerjee said her government was expecting to draw total investment of over Rupees one lakh crore from the event which is being attended by over 1,000 business personalities, dignitaries from 19 foreign countries.

“Wait for tomorrow the documents itself will speak for themselves. We are hoping for an investment of over Rs.1 lakh crore during the summit,” Banerjee had told mediapersons Wednesday morning on the sidelines of the event which attracted delegations from countries like the UK, Japan, the US, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Spain, Belarus, Czech Republic, Israel, South Korea and Luxembourg.

Earlier, she set the tone for the day, asserting in her inaugural address “political differences will not block the development road”.

“Arun Jaitley ji is here to guide us, to give his advice. In a federal structure, a strong center and a strong state can only complement each other,” said Banerjee.

Jaitley, who was the chief guest, assured support in Bengal’s industrial growth.

“I am sure when each of one of you invest in the state, I am here to assure you the central government will strongly stand behind the state government in order to support each one of the rupees and dollars that you invest in the state,” Jaitley told industrialists.

He said the centre will pay West Bengal one instalment of the Central Sales Tax (CST) compensation… by March 31, with the balance amount to be paid in the times to come.

In the backdrop of the Trinamool Congress taking the lead in parliament to block several economic reforms of the Narendra Modi government, Jaitley called for cooperation between the centre and the states on development issues, and reminded Banerjee that just like her regime, the BJP also has a responsibility to deliver what it had promised to the electorate.

Contesting state Finance Minister Amit Mitra, who highlighted the state’s high growth, Jaitley pointed out that the share of manufacturing in the state’s growth was small which affected job creation.

Gadkari said Rs.12,500 crore is lined up for modernising and broadening of 563 km national highway between Kolkata and Siliguri.

His ministry signed an agreement with the state government for a Rs.12,000 crore deep sea port at Sagar in South 24 Praganas district and a Rs.1,200 crore floating storage and regasification unit near the Sagar Deep Sea Port.

The Kolkata Municipal Development Authority inked a Rs.300 crore deal with Kolkata Port Trust for Kolkata Eye modeled on famous giant Ferris wheel in London.

Besides, World Bank is financing the construction of an Rs.4,200 crore inland waterway linking Varanasi and Haldia.

Leading industrialists like ITC chairman Y.C. Deveshwar, and Godrej Group head Adi Godrej, besides business magnates Sanjiv Goenka, Harsh Neotia, G.P. Goenka, FICCI president Jyotsna Suri and former FICCI president Y.K. Modi were present.

However, most front-ranking industrialists of the country including Reliance Group chairman Mukerh Ambai – who had attended the previous summit of the Banerjee government in Mumbai – skipped the event.

By Sarkaritel January 8, 2015 10:32