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Days after announcement of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s plans to have cricket icon Sourav Ganguly host a business reality show, Industry Minister Amit Mitra said that projects worth Rs. 91,000 crores was “in process” and West Bengal had on hand projects worth Rs. 2.43 lakh crores. “ Pro-poor can be pro-business too”, the minister said in an apparent reference to the Mamata Banerjee government’s ‘pro-people – anti-industry’ image.
Addressing the members of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry during their annual general meeting, he said that major US companies were showing interest in the proposed six themed smart cities in West Bengal. He frequently peppered his statements with the phrase ‘not many know’ to how West Bengal was trotting ahead. He cited instances like HSBC’s 4000-seat facility here or the other industrial projects.
He said that many overseas companies, especially American ones have shown interest in investing in the six smart-themed cities in the State. He added that the themes included sports, health and education, industry, analytics and art and culture.
“Twenty five per cent of the land in these smart city projects were to be reserved for the themes while the rest is to be dedicated for other purposes after making some reservations for the poor,” Mr. Mitra said.
He said that Hewlett-Packard showed interest in health care and telemedicine while Pratt and Whitney in providing elevator services. US firm Cisco had also shown interest in e-learning and e-health solutions, he said.
Indicating that the pro-poor stance of the Mamata Banerjee government does not preclude a pro business approach, he said that the government had taken several steps to ease business.” Permits are deemed to have been given if they are not issued in a time bound manner in most cases.” Mr Mitra a former industry representative said (he was with FICCI).
It may be mentioned here with the Assembly elections scheduled in West Bengal next year the Trinamool Congress government is keen to catalyse industrial development, which petered off in the aftermath of the Singur agitation and the overall industrial slowdown. Most of the projects now being launched are an inheritance of the past rule.
Ms. Banerjee has led two major business delegations over the last one year (to Singapore and London) and now she has planned a show which aims to foster start-ups
Winners at the show will get recognition, assistance towards capital generation, mentoring by corporate captains and assistance to set up their units, the government said. The initiative, announced earlier this week has drawn sniggers from the political opposition with industry captains raising their eyebrows in private, on the efficacy of such a show.
Mr. Ganguly has proved his mettle as a television persona hosting a hugely popular quiz show Dadagiri (Sourav was lovingly referred to as Dada by the young and old alike in these parts).
From: The Hindu