The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tata turns Marandi Mumbai tide

Mumbai, Sept. 3: Mumbai and Babulal Marandi finally discovered each other, fuelling hopes that the chief minister will not return to Jharkhand empty-handed after an investors’ roadshow.

The chief minister, who had to help some industrialists locate Jharkhand on the map yesterday, had a pleasant surprise today as several businessmen, including Ratan Tata, dropped in. Marandi’s sources said Tata has promised the chief minister that he has something in store for the state.

Tata came along with Tisco managing director B. Muthuraman and J.J. Irani to meet Marandi. Muthuraman later hosted a dinner honouring the chief minister.

The Tisco chief said the Tatas have been present in the state for the “last 100 years’’ and plan to be there for many more. “We have grown there and want to be there,’’ Muthuraman said. But he suggested that new policies be implemented fast.

The meeting and dinner come close on the heels of a Jharkhand government declaration in court that it intended to renew the lease on only 39 per cent of the land held by Tisco in Jamshedpur. Marandi promised the string of business delegates that he wants to make Jharkhand a “model state’’ and that he would leave no stone unturned to meet the objective.

Among others who met Marandi were delegations from Reliance, the Nabard, BSES, L&T and Mitsubishi.

The chief minister lent a personal touch to the hardsell by repeatedly stressing that “I will implement this” and “I will see to it that this is done”.

Officials accompanying the chief minister described it as an attempt at “personalising’’ the interaction with business delegates and according the campaign a sense of immediacy.

The meetings today were very fruitful, R.K. Srivastava, a senior official, said, adding that the results of Marandi’s Mumbai trip would soon be visible.

However, some of the delegates later said there has to be a semblance of political stability and good law and order for investors to gain confidence before putting in their money in the state. The threat from the MCC apart, the domicile issue played on the minds of prospective investors.

Officials conceded that the most difficult task for Marandi was getting his ministers “in line”. “Nobody really is too bothered about the new policies or programmes,” an official said. Files on some mining, coal and transport projects have remained “in the position they were before the bifurcation”.

The various projects and programmes that have been shortlisted are ill-defined. “There has been no homework whatsoever,’’ said a source close to the chief minister. “Marandi is desperate to show a change of image and start the campaign to better Jharkhand but he is not getting the support from his ministers,” the source said.

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