The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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WBIDC monitoring system to check project progress

Calcutta, Oct. 8: The West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) will develop a monitoring process to assess the progress of projects financed by the agency.

Speaking at a meet organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, WBIDC managing director Gopalkrishna said, “The agency has a four-fold agenda — financing of loan and equity, management of state incentives, development of infrastructure and promotion, facilitation and hand holding. In view of this agenda, it is necessary to have a facility to monitor developments in projects.”

WBIDC has financed one out of every three new medium and large projects in the state. The agency had restructured its loan schemes in March this year. “The interest rates are now market-driven and there is a fixed rate premium. We have also provided an interest rebate of 0.25 per cent after a period of two years for debtors who make timely repayments,” explains Gopalkrishna. The WBIDC incentive scheme has become more cash-based.

The corporation expects to cross the Rs 100 crore mark for loan disbursements within the next two to three years. For 2002-03, the agency expects to disburse around Rs 75 crore for new projects. This is a quantum jump compared with the Rs 30.45 crore disbursed last year.

“We are targeting operating profits of around Rs 10 crore this year. Our net profits will be around Rs 8 crore,” says Gopalkrishna. “We have drastically reduced our equity portfolio and will participate only in strategic ventures.”

The agency now demands collateral ranging from 33 per cent to 75 per cent for new projects. Moreover, the organisation seeking the loan will have to produce a project report appraised by a financial institution.

WBIDC has laid special focus on the iron and steel industry, which has seen an upswing in the last one year. There have been more than 90 projects in the sector, which has resulted in an investment flow of Rs 1,500 crore. The total investments in the sector is expected to go up to Rs 2,000 crore by the end of the current financial year. “West Bengal currently commands the second position in the production of sponge iron in the country. We have therefore added interest in the sector and provided a special incentive scheme,” adds Gopalkrishna.

Another sector where the state has recorded considerable growth is the edible oil industry. Interest rates for projects in the sector were reduced in July this year. Among the major projects being funded and managed by WBIDC are Foundry Park, Toy Park and Gems and Jewellery special export zone.

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