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Hinduja hint at Bengal foray

Calcutta, Feb. 2: The Hindujas have evinced interest in the chemical hub the Bengal government is planning in the Nayachar-Haldia region.

Subir Raha, the executive vice-chairman of Hinduja Group India Ltd, said the enterprise had big plans in India’s oil and gas sector and Bengal could feature in its scheme of things.

“We are interested in the chemical space in Bengal,” Raha, a former ONGC chairman, told The Telegraph.

The group communicated its interest to Nirupam Sen and Sabyasachi Sen when the Bengal industry minister and the department’s secretary met Ashok Hinduja and Raha in Mumbai on Thursday.

It’s still early days, but Raha’s comment is the clearest statement of intent yet from any major private sector group for participation in the Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) the state government is planning in Nayachar and Haldia.

Sources said the Hindujas might build a petrochemical/chemical plant, though Raha didn’t elaborate as the level of engagement would depend on the final blueprint for the investment region.

The state government has been approaching all players in the oil and gas space to invest in the proposed chemical hub.

The industry minister had also met Reliance’s Mukesh Ambani during the trip, while chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had approached steel magnate Lakshmi Niwas Mittal.

Sen today said the Hindujas — who plan to invest $50 billion over the next 4-5 years in various sectors in India — had shown interest in healthcare, too, and might build a super speciality hospital or even a large “medicity” with facilities for teaching and training.

“It will depend on the size of the land and proximity to Calcutta. We will buy land,” Raha said.

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