The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Govt delinks Delhi turmoil and investments
- Industry knows best, says Sen

Calcutta, Aug. 21: Investors are coming to Bengal because of the state’s efforts and it does not really matter who is in power in Delhi, Nirupam Sen said today.

“Our state has seen steady investment during the BJP- led NDA government’s tenure, too,” the industries minister said after a meeting of the Assembly standing committee on industry and commerce.

“Investors know what sort of industry would thrive in each state. Apprehensions that the developments in Delhi would affect investment in Bengal are absolutely misplaced,” he added.

But Sen also advised against drawing any hasty conclusions on the tenure of the Union government at this stage.

According to the government’s figures, Bengal attracted an investment of Rs 2,000 crore every year on average during the NDA rule.

The figure went up almost four times in 2000, when Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation PTA pumped in money for its first phase in Haldia.

During the NDA rule — between mid-1999 and mid-2004 — around Rs 16,500 crore was invested in Bengal. The am- ount stands at a little over Rs 8,000 crore in the three years of the UPA since then.

Officials said a “friendly government” in Delhi has not ensured any major infrastructure development for the state.

The national highways along which Tata Motors and Frito Lay are setting up their plants were part of the Golden Quadrilateral project launched by the NDA.

“The stress on infrastructure played a major role in getting investors to set up shop here,” a senior official said.

Since the UPA government assumed power in May 2004, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has been lobbying the Centre for a clutch of projects, including a deep sea port near Sagar Island and the light rail transit system and East-West Metro in Calcutta.

“But nothing has materialised so far. The civil aviation minister even put the second greenfield airport on the backburner, saying it wouldn’t be viable,” said another official.

But in the past three years, the Centre did breathe new life into the ailing IISCO and thousands of families associated with it. The plant is set to be modernised with an investment of Rs 20,000 crore.

Several institutes of higher learning, like the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, are also coming to Bengal.

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