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Bengal heads to Mumbai

Calcutta, Aug. 29: It’s mission Mumbai for the Bengal government.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee visited the country’s financial capital in June to scout for investment and met business barons at the roadshow organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry. Industries and commerce minister Nirupam Sen was canvassing for Mani Kanchan, the gems and jewellery park, in Mumbai last month.

And today, information technology minister Manab Mukherjee called on Mukesh Ambani at the Reliance headquarters in Nariman Point.

The IT minister told The Telegraph from Reliance House in Mumbai: “This is the time of the year when companies draw up their strategic plans and we thought it was the right time to request Reliance to consider the state for further investments. We had a very fruitful and positive interaction.”

Mukherjee said his discussions with the Reliance chairman revolved around the Rs 60,000-crore company’s future plans in Bengal in areas like telecommunication and business process outsourcing. Ambani, apparently, assured the IT minister that the company will consider the state as a destination for their call centre business.

G.D. Gautama, principal secretary, IT, and Webel managing director S.K. Mitra accompanied Mukherjee, who also met senior officials of Hindustan Lever Ltd, now busy drawing up its business process outsourcing plans.

McKinsey had tied up the talks for the minister, besides organising 10 other meetings there over the past two weeks for officials of the IT department.

To sell Bengal’s potential as an investment destination aggressively, the government has renewed its contract with McKinsey. The earlier one-year contract, where McKinsey was given the mandate of bringing in investments in IT and agricultural sectors, had expired in November. But this time, its role is limited to the IT sector.

Writers’ sources point out that the controversy surrounding the consultants’ proposal of contract farming, which sparked protests from a section of the Left Front, resulted in the portfolio slash.

“The agriculture minister was not keen on McKinsey and to steer clear of any fresh controversy the government has given them only IT,” said a senior state government official.

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