| (From left) Ranjit Pandit, principal, McKinsey & Co, Sam Pitroda, CEO, WorldTel, USA, and P. M. Sinha, former chairman, Pepsico Ltd. Picture by Kishor Roy Chowdhury
Calcutta, Sept 13: What happens when Uncle Sam meets Buddha-babu' They talk about everything from flowers to phones and health care to e-governance. Sam Pitroda, CEO, WorldTel, USA called on the chief minister Buddhaeb Bhattcharjee in Writers’ Buildings on Friday to discuss a host of issues.
While coming out of the CM’s chamber, the telecom guru stopped for an impromptu Q&A at the Writers’ corridor.
“We explored investment opportunity in areas like IT, e-governance, agro-based industry, floriculture and health care facilities. I am happy with the discussion as the CM showed reciprocal interest,” said Pitroda after the 30 minute one-on-one. But he was quick to add with a smile, “Mind it that I haven’t come here as a consultant. My services are free.”
Pitroda -- a member of the north America-based Bengali association Boston Pledge -- also promised: “I will discuss the various points raised by the chief minister with Partha Ghosh and Purnendu Chatterjee on my return to US. We will try to work out something for the benefit of the state.”
Earlier in the day, Pitroda, who is in town to take part in the national management convention organised by the All India Management Association (AIMA), shared his vision about the state of West Bengal with the media.
He acknowledged that slowly the “negative perception” about the state is changing and the investors’ community has started showing interest in West Bengal.
“I can’t say that it has completely changed, but I must mention that it’s changing,” observed Pitroda. According to him, the problem in the state is “lack of action”. He explained: “I have been interacting with the West Bengal government for some time and I have always maintained that Calcutta can become the animation capital of the country. Given the geographical advantage here, Calcutta can actually be the gateway to the Asia Pacific. But the opportunities haven’t been capitalised.”
From failure in utilising the floriculture potential to lack of vision in marketing the Satyajit Ray classics to the world community – he gave a list of “lost opportunities”.
“During the inaugural ceremony of the convention, we were welcomed with lovely flowers. On the podium itself, I asked the chief minister, why don’t we export these flowers' They can be a great source of revenue,” said the man who scripted the telecom revolution in the country in 80s.
He mentioned his plans to do something to improve the state of primary health care in the state. “I am trying to network with non resident Indian doctors in US to arrange short trips for them in this part of the country and use their expertise to bring about a change in the state of health care facilities.”