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Fairways drive for Calcutta hardsell

Michael Atherton runs into Kapil Dev on a green top on a misty November morning in Calcutta. Only this time, it’s the golfing greens of Tollygunge Club, not the familiar turf at Eden Gardens.

The two former captains of England and India will meet for a whole new ball game, on the fairways, on November 23, the final day of the high-profile Consular Corps golf tournament. The star cricketing duo will tee off for a Texas Scamble format with industrialists like S.R. Ruiya, Sunil Mittal and K.K. Bajoria, along with Yogi Deveshwar and Korean ambassador Kwan. If Kapil and Atherton hog the limelight on Day III of the third edition of the tournament, sponsored by Heritage Finance and Trust and managed by Tiger Sports Management, the focal point will be the business seminar on Day II.

To be held in tandem with the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC), the conference will be chaired by German consul-general in Calcutta Erhard Zander and is expected to draw a full house — all 45 companies and 19 consulates/embassies participating in the meet.

Thirty minutes have been earmarked for chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s address, following WBIDC chairman Somnath Chatterjee, state industries minister Nirupam Sen and economic analyst Jairam Ramesh’s observations on Bengal as a business destination. Sabyasachi Sen, principal secretary, commerce and industries, will also make a presentation.

Amabassadors, consul-generals and trade commissioners of different countries, like Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Thailand and the US will share the Bengal experience of investors from their respective shores. The session will be moderated by Zander.

As the pitch for foreign investment gains currency with every edition of this “tailor-made platform” for cross-border industry interface, activity at the government level is also picking up. To take such representative-level interaction “to a natural conclusion”, the Consular Corps, along with WBIDC, is poised to set up a review panel to monitor actual conversions on the ground.

“Calcutta's image abroad doesn't do it proper justice, and our entire effort is channelled towards changing that picture,” said Touhid Hossain, dean of the Consular Corps on Friday. “The Consular Corps is convinced that West Bengal, with its ever-improving infrastructure and willingness to seek investment, is the ideal state to see a quantum leap for new business and industry.” Zander felt “the strategic location” of Calcutta makes it the destination for business and tourist traffic from the east as well, and appealed to the information machinery of the state to start highlighting the positives, “like the IT complex in Salt Lake, the gems and jewellery park…”

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