| Bhattacharjee lights a lamp during the unveiling of the foundation stone for Videocon’s biotech and IT projects in Dabgram. A Telegraph picture
Dabgram (Jalpaiguri), June 29: Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today showered praise on Videocon chairman V.N. Dhoot for taking up challenging industrial projects in the state and coming up a winner every time.
“Everyone knows about Videocon as a leader in electronics and household goods, but I first got to know about them when the Philips factory in Salt Lake closed down. (Gautam) Sengupta of Videocon (the current chief operating officer) offered to take it over. He did, and Videcon’s performance has got better without retrenching any of the 1,000 employees,” said Bhattacharjee.
The chief minister was speaking at the foundation stone unveiling ceremony of Videocon’s latest forays in north Bengal — a biotechnology project and an IT complex over about 50 acres here, 7 km from the heart of Siliguri.
There was a rerun of the Salt Lake success story at the Philips Taratola unit, where 600 people are employed, said Bhattacharjee. “I have been regularly meeting Dhoot from then on, urging him to do more for Bengal, where there is a lot of skilled human resources,” he said.
“Dhoot took up the request… his latest venture is the Videocon IT Tower in Saltlec (Sector V, Salt Lake), which is expected to be completed by 2008. As many as 30,000 people will work there, along with the 46,000 already doing so in Saltlec. Videocon will be a giant among IT giants.”
Bhattacharjee also spoke of the transition that has taken place at Kanchan, the loss-making, state government-run fruit-processing unit in north Bengal. “The once idle fruit processors have been trained and are now assembling TV sets and computers. I am convinced that no company other than Videocon could have done this.”
The biotechnology park, the chief minister said, would be a watershed project, capable of employing “about 15,000 people”. He added: “The IT park, to be set up in the next phase, will provide jobs to 25,000 people. As much as Rs 500 crore would be invested in this…I thank Dhoot from the bottom of my heart on behalf of the people of north Bengal.”
Dhoot on his part endeared himself to the gathering, comprising largely of CPM and Citu supporters from Jalpaiguri and Siliguri and a smattering of CII members. “The next time I speak here, it will be in Bengali. I had taken up projects in Bengal despite warnings from my industrialist friends. But my experience has proved them wrong.”
The Videocon chairman said the biotech park will deal in horticulture, floriculture and medicinal herbs. He added that experts from Rabo Bank, which will act as technical consultant, have examined the site and found it suitable. “Indian herbal medicine made here will one day become popular the world over,” Dhoot promised.