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TV sets, made in Siliguri pickle factory

Siliguri, Nov. 6: Videocon will manufacture television sets at Kanchan, a closed food-processing unit in Matigara which once made jams, jellies and pickles.

The company has submitted its proposal entailing an investment of Rs 100 crore to the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation.

'Yes, we have received such a proposal from Videocon and are studying it very positively,' said Gopal Krishna, the corporation's managing director.

If everything goes off well, this could be one of the most significant investments in the industry-starved region.

Getting government approval for the project should be a formality as chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee himself had earlier called for the takeover of Kanchan.

Urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya, who has been hard-selling north Bengal as an investment destination, suggested as much and went on to say: 'Videocon chairman and managing director V.N. Dhoot will make an announcement on November 30.'

Videocon, Gopal Krishna added, has promised to absorb all workers of Kanchan, which was run by the Darjeeling Fruit and Vegetable Processing Cooperative Society and has 35 workers (17 of them permanent).

'The good thing is that the company has promised to absorb all the workers of Kanchan,' the managing director said.

To make ends meet, the employees now make pickles on their own and market them under the brand name of Kanchan.

A source said the new Videocon unit would cater to the Northeast and markets in neighbouring countries.

'Initially, Videocon plans to manufacture around 1 lakh television sets per annum at the Matigara unit,' said the source.

'They are planning to cater to the Northeast and the markets in the neighbouring countries,' he added.

The process of handing over Kanchan has apparently begun.

'The government would soon appoint a liquidator, who will assess the assets and liabilities of Kanchan before initiating negotiations with Videocon,' the source added.

The liabilities of Kanchan, spread over 2.6 acres of prime industrial land, are not too daunting, especially after the government decided to waive the Rs 42 lakh that it had given it as loan.

It now owes around Rs 5 or 6 lakh to a bank.

On November 30, Videocon boss Dhoot will not, however, be the only star in town.

Tennis sensation Sania Mirza and senior pro Mahesh Bhupathi would also be here to take part in an exhibition tournament being sponsored by the television maker.

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