The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Asok back with concession cry
- Uttaranchal model for industrial growth

Siliguri, Dec. 25: A gap of two years and Asok Bhattacharya is again harping for a special concessional package for the region.

The demand was first raised by the urban development minister in 2004 when he wanted an extension of North East Council (NEC) facilities to north Bengal. The idea, however, was then shot down by chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Now at a time when the region is experiencing an industrial boom, Bhattacharya has raised the demand once again, but this time on the lines of the benefits extended by the Centre to Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh till 2010.

The minister had recently visited Hardwar and Dehra Dun in Uttaranchal and had a bird’s eye view of the “positive impact” of the special package extended to the state.

The CPM, Bhattacharya claimed, has chalked out a proposal for north Bengal on the lines of Uttaranchal, and most political parties, according to him, have given their consent to it. The proposal to be placed before the Centre has some of the following features:

lCent per cent excise duty exemption for a period of 10 years from the date of commencement of commercial production at the units

lCent per cent income tax exemption for initial five years and thereafter 30 per cent for companies and 25 per cent for other enterprises for a further period of five years from the date of commencement of commercial production

lThe financing pattern of Integrated Infrastructure Development Centre of the government of India and Small Industrial development Board of India to be 4:1 and the central funds to be in the nature of a grant.

“I believe, the chief minister will, during his visit to north Bengal, speak more in favour of the demand and support it,” Bhattacharya said at a news conference today.

He hinted that after getting a go-ahead signal from the chief minister, the CPM would call for an all party movement to get the demand fulfilled.

Goutam Deb, the Darjeeling district president of the Trinamul Congress, confirmed his party’s support. “If the Centre accepts the proposal, the whole region will benefit. ”

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