The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fast & furious sermon to CM

Calcutta, Dec. 2: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee believes slow and steady wins the race.

It’s a belief he found hard to defend this morning at the chief ministers’ round table held as part of Infocom 2002, the information technology exhibition organised by industry body Nasscom and Businessworld, an Ananda Bazar group publication.

“We will do it our way. Slow and steady wins the race,” the chief minister said, slowly but surely stepping on a landmine.

Economist-politician Jairam Ramesh, who chaired the session, pointed out how incongruous the phrase was in connection with an industry where the only constant is rapid-fire change.

“Fast and furious, Sir,” Ramesh said, citing the “aggression” of Karnataka and Andhra.

Kiran Karnik, the Nasscom chief, also pounced on the words. Speaking on behalf of the industry, he had one advice for the chief minister: “Act, and act now.”

“The investor will be convinced only when there is action. We want implementation and action,” he said.

At the round table with Bhattacharjee were the chief ministers of Meghalaya and Manipur and ministers and officials from six other Northeast states.

Ramesh placed an additional burden of responsibility on Bengal, a role that it had traditionally played: of acting as a catalyst of industrial development in the entire region. Karnik took the cue when he said immediately after that Calcutta would have to be an infotech hub for the east and Northeast.

Bhattacharjee accepted the challenge. “We will do our best to emerge as a leader in the IT industry. We will also try and help the other states of the region to prosper,” he said. ( )

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