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22 Jan 2017

'Super, super, super' successful: CM - Unlike previous years, Bengal lists break-up of investment promises at summit

Mamata being greeted at the business summit on Saturday. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya


TT, Calcutta, Jan. 21: Mamata Banerjee today said the Bengal Global Business Summit this year was "super, super, super successful", describing the investment proposals of Rs 2.35 lakh crore as "enough at this juncture".
The Bengal chief minister referred to demonetisation and said she was "happy" with what the summit had been able to attract. The investment proposals this year were around Rs 15,000 crore less than last edition's.
"It is super, super, super successful. I am happy to say that despite this demonetisation and remonetisation, a total of nearly $35 billion has been committed. We believe this is enough at this juncture," Mamata said in her concluding remarks at the summit.
Unlike previous years, the government immediately provided a detailed break-up of the proposals (see chart).
Industry sources said that though many investment proposals often fail to see the light of day, the success of such business summits is assessed in terms of the volume proposed.
"It may be one rupee or one lakh crore; one rupee or one dollar. I will be happy to see if everything is implemented. But I announce something and don't implement... is something I don't like," Mamata said, adding that the total investment proposed in the past two years was Rs 4.93 lakh crore.
"You will be happy to know that 40 per cent of the projects are already under implementation," she said.

"Forty per cent" comes to around Rs 2 lakh crore. However, the details of the projects, under various stages of implementation, were not made available today by either finance minister Amit Mitra or industries department officials, who were busy preparing tables on the proposals received at the summit this year.
Government officials said that while JSW had laid the foundation for its Rs 800-crore cement plant in Salboni in West Midnapore earlier this year, the Purnendu Chatterjee-led TCG Group's commitment in the previous summit to set up a Rs 20,000-crore refinery project was still on the drawing board.
Industrialists welcomed the stress on implementation, but some of them said the rate of the progress needed to be raised.
"That the chief minister has stressed the need to bridge the gap between announcement and implementation is a reason for cheer," said an industrialist who had made several investment proposals at last year's summit.
The industrialist referred to several factors that he said were hampering industrialisation in Bengal, such as the state government's hands-off land policy, law-and-order issues, extortion rackets and the refusal to allow special economic zones.
"Proactive and sincere administrative support is a major requirement for the industry to implement projects," he said.
Horasis conference
Frank-Jürgen Richter, chairman of Horasis, an independent international organisation that hosts annual meetings globally on the critical challenges faced by corporations, has expressed an interest in holding a conference in Calcutta in November.
Both Mamata and finance minister Mitra thanked Richter, a former director of the Word Economic Forum, for picking Calcutta as the venue.
"The Horasis Asia summit is Asia's World Economic Forum. Around 450-500 top-of-the-line CEOs come for the meeting. Those who attend it are either promoters or professional CEOs," Mitra said.

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