Investors pledge big investments at Bengal business meet

Kolkata, Jan 16 : Several corporate houses on Tuesday came forward with big investment proposals for West Bengal and right at the start of "Bengal Global Business Summit" here an estimated Rs 17,000 crore worth of investments were pledged.

The business summit was attended by a host of prominent industrialists, including Lakshmi.N.

Mittal of steel giant Arcelor Mittal, Sajjan Jindal of JSW Group, Kishor Biyani of Future group, Uday Kotak, the head of Kotak group and Sanjiv Goenka, chairman of RP-Sanjiv Goenka group.

Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, Italy, Japan, China, South Korea, Britain and the UAE are among the 32 overseas nations participated at the mega business gathering.

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani committed Rs 5,000 crore for the state over a few years in the digital ecosystem, retail and petro-retail segment and also said the group would explore with partners to set up an electronics manufacturing facility.

JSW Group's chief Sajjan Jindal has pledged Rs 10,000 crore over the next 3-4 years and the group, which had inaugurated Rs 800 crore cement plant in West Midnapore district on Monday, has interests in setting up paint and speciality steel making units along with expansion of cement facility and power plant in the state.

RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group's Chairman Sanjiv Goenka announced a Rs 1,000 crore investment plan for Bengal and Adventz Group also expressed its intent to invest a like amount in the state.

Future Group's Chief Kishor Biyani also announced the retailer would increase the number stores by 40 per cent of present number in the next year and expand its network in the cities of Bengal.

SpiceJet Chairman Ajay Singh also said the low cost airline would explore possibilities of manufacturing sea planes in the state and announced the carrier will expand its services from the state to Bangladesh and Asean countries.

In an effort to move away from West Bengal's "investor-wary" image and woo much-needed investments, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said its people would dedicate their hearts to Indian and foreign industrialists if they infused capital in the state.

Inaugurating the two-day business summit, she also assured industrialists that there was "no pressure, discrimination or intimidation" in the state and that Bengal had only "love and affection" for them.

"We love India and unity of India.

We love tolerance. You must invest in Bengal. The state is attracting businesses from all over the world like never before. There is no pressure, discrimination, intimidation... only love, affection and attraction is here," she said.

She also assured her government would not spare even her party men if they created problems for investors and industrialists.

"We have to protect them (industrialists and investors) and they are our assets," she added.

Applauding the West Bengal government's economic activities and Banerjee's initiative, Ambani said under her leadership, "Bengal is becoming the best Bengal".

Sharing his experience globally, steel magnate Mittal said he understands what is required for a business friendly environment and favourable investment climate.

According to him, political stability, infrastructure investments and skill workforce and limited bureaucracy are the some of the important factors.

Banerjee is committed to mitigate "challenges of bureaucracy and corruption" two major challenges of India, Mittal said, adding that the state's effort on digitally driven governance would eliminate corruption.

"She understands all of these and I conceive the initiatives, she is implementing, are already yielding results and being recognised on the world stage.

I feel the Bengal is on a exciting path.....the initiatives combined with didi's passion will lead to optimistic outlook for the state.

I hope I will also be able to contribute in some meaningful way," he said.

Urging potential investors to invest in the eastern state as the "prime and first" destination for investors, Jindal lauded the support and cooperation that his group got during the setting up of the cement plant at Salboni.

Uday Kotak, Executive Vice Chairman and MD of Kotak Mahindra Bank said the mind-set in Bengal has changed hopefully forever.



Source: IANS