The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Japan wants Bengal to act fast

Calcutta, Dec. 21: Deliver first, request later — that was the clear message to the Bengal government from Japanese investors which included Marubeni, Toshiba, Honda, Itochu, Mitsubishi Chemicals and Pacific Consultants.

At a meeting with the Bengal government today, the 17-member Japanese delegation made it clear that the state should not sit on its plans but implement them as fast as possible. The meeting was jointly hosted by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

After a series of presentations by ICC, McKinsey, Haldia Petrochem and the state transport department, the investors raised certain questions about the speedy implementation of the projects.

A senior representative of Pacific Consultants International said: “Traffic congestion in and around Calcutta is an obstacle to business directly and indirectly. This is an urgent and indispensable challenge to the Bengal government. The transport department’s presentation shows that many projects are in the pipeline. But we want to know how quickly these plans will be implemented.”

Pacific Consultants is the project manager for Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.

State transport secretary H. P. Roy said the traffic problem is being addressed and the government is preparing a detailed project report to set up proper infrastructure in Calcutta.

“We are in touch with donor countries including Japan Bank of International Cooperation for financial assistance,” he said.

Somnath Chatterjee, chairman of West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC), said the government is managing the traffic “fairly successfully”.

Nobuhiko Kawamoto, chairman of the Japan-India Business Cooperation Committee said: “Last evening we had an interaction with chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. We feel that the state has a clear policy. What is happening here in reality is much more than what is happening in some of the liberal states. We are convinced that this leader will successfully direct the state in future.”

The Japanese investors feel that despite the change in attitude the government should now start implementing the promised measures. “That will work as a green signal to the investors,” a Japanese investor said.

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