The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lament on slow investment
Nirupam Sen: Disappointed

Calcutta, July 23: Commerce and industry minister Nirupam Sen today admitted that the pace of industrialisation in Bengal was not up to the government’s expectations.

“We have tried (to promote industrialisation) but our expectaions have not been met. However, we have created a congenial atmosphere in the state for investors and they are responding. We believe that with a little bit of restraint and cooperation from the Opposition, we will be able to take Bengal’s industrialisation forward,” Sen said in reply to criticism from Trinamul Congress and Congress legislators in the Assembly during the discussion on the industry budget.

Trinamul MLAs, like Saugata Roy, criticised the government’s “amateurish” approach towards wooing investors and described its achievements as “too little, too late”.

His colleague Partha Chatterjee said a “wrong” impression was created during chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s visit last month to Italy that fashion house Gucci was interested in investing in Bengal’s leather sector.

Roy also charged the government with not being able to rein in the Citu, the CPM’s labour arm, which was “blocking investors by violent trade unionism”.

Sen stressed that the government would not tolerate any “violent movement”. “How can you say we have not achieved anything' Then how did two starred hotels like Hyatt Regency and ITC Sonar Bangla come up' How do you explain the interest shown in the state by Wipro and IBM' There is a stiff competition going on countrywide to woo investors,” the minister said.

There was false propaganda by the Opposition that Bengal had few industries because of an adverse law and order situation and labour unrest. “Maharastra is dogged by the mafia, Gujarat is ravaged by religious fundamentalism while a sandalwood don has been virtually holding Karnataka to ransom. But no one says that there is flight of capital from these states,” he added.

Doctor recruitment

The West Bengal State Health Service (Amendment) Bill was passed today, enabling the government to directly recruit teaching doctors without going through the Public Service Commission.

It also makes it compulsory for teaching doctors in medical colleges to see patients at pay clinics “in addition to his own duties”.

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