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President reminds Buddha of deadline

Calcutta, Feb. 27: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam today reminded chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee of the need to finish projects on time.

After laying the foundation stone of a permanent trade fair complex and exhibition centre, Kalam did not hide his worries over the completion of the project within a time frame. “I do not like to lay foundation stones of projects where there is no assurance of completion of the project,” the President said.

Bhattacharjee assured Kalam that the project would be complete in two years.

The President also asked the chief minister about the project’s funding. “How is the funding supposed to be done' Will money flow in the project'”

The complex, to be built at a cost of Rs 30 crore, will promote trade and industry through fairs and industrial meets. The cost will be shared by the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation, the Calcutta Municipal Corporation and the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation. The trade promotion organisation will own a 51 per cent stake. The municipal and industrial development corporations will share the rest equally.

Officials of the industrial development corporation said the project will be completed by the end of 2005. Kalam emphasised the need to finish projects “just-in-time”. “The setting up of the centre will be an important step in promotion of trade and business in the state, which is the gateway to the north-east India and Southeast Asia,” he said.

Keen to live down the impact of the shutdown across the state on Tuesday, the chief minister said: “We need to have a definite time-frame to complete projects. There should be a collective initiative to develop industries in the state.”

Calcutta Trade Centre, which has been named Milan Mela by Bhattacharjee and is being set up jointly by the government and the trade promotion organisation, will provide an exhibition space of 7,00,000 sq ft.

Kalam urged industrialists to bear some social responsibility.

At the end of the programme, he wanted to meet the industrialists present. S.K. Roy, the managing director of Peerless General Finance and Investment, said after the meeting: “He asked us about the development of telemedicine in the state and the growth of information technology.”

Governor Viren J. Shah, commerce and industries minister Nirupam Sen, Union minister S.B. Mookherjee and mayor Subrata Mukherjee also attended the programme.

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