West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had announced after the Global Business Summit last year that the state had got investment proposals worth Rs 2.43 lakh crore. The state is once again poised to hold a two-day Bengal Global Business Summit on Friday and Saturday, with a vision to establish an image that embodies the essence of a new business-ready Bengal.
According to West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) data, of the R2.43 lakh crore, investments worth Rs 85,000 crore only became operational. The figure could have been more as the state has huge industrialisation potential with large tracts of land lying barren in Purulia, Bankura and East Midnapore. But the infrastructure for accessibility in the areas needs to be developed, Hemant Kanoria, chairman and managing director of SREI Infrastructure said adding “the chief minister, like her predecessor, has the right intent of industrialisation.”
Ficci chairman Harsh Neotia, also the chairman of the Ambuja Neotia Group, felt that perception was the only problem with West Bengal, although the government has been pro-active and supportive of industrialisation. “There is single-window clearance for the industry to set up shops but market is a problem. There is room for infrastructure development as well,” Neotia said.
While land acquisition became an issue a few years ago, it is no more a problem with plenty being available for big and small industries, Neotia said. But industrialists unwilling to put their names said the government should have given more focus in rectifying its finances, which could have given it additional resources for creating infrastructure.
However, the CM believes the perception was changing and “investment will come over a period of time.” Mukul Roy, the former Union railway minister, said the positive thing that happened in West Bengal in the past four-and-a-half years was that there were no state-sponsored strike and nearly no mandays lost.