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CM confident of Gucci visit

Calcutta, July 3: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has stood by his statement that Gucci, the fashion accessory maker, had said it would send representatives to Calcutta this month.

Bhattacharjee told the Assembly today that he was not aware of any letter from Gucci contradicting his statement on return from Italy that the company would send two representatives to the leather complex at Bantala, on the outskirts of Calcutta.

On June 30, Gucci had faxed to The Telegraph a copy of a message addressed to the chief minister, which said that the company has “no intention to send any Gucci representative to India”. Gucci officials later confirmed over phone that the company had no plan to do business in India. The report was published in The Telegraph on July 1.

“I do not know what had appeared in the newspapers, but when I was visiting the Gucci factory in Italy, I told the company officials that of the 170 million goat skins used in the tanning industry worldwide, 96 million are generated in India. They had told me that they were not interested to go out of Florence,” Bhattacharjee said.

He added that he had told the company officials about the availability of leather in India. “I suggested to them that they could set up a manufacturing unit here and export the products to Asian countries. They did not say yes or no, but their people will be here sometime this month,” the chief minister said.

Bhattacharjee said that the Italian consul-general had also assured him that a Gucci team was scheduled in Calcutta this month. Bhattacharjee referred to the controversy after Abdul Mannan of the Congress raised it while participating in the debate on the home (personnel and administrative reforms) budget.

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