The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CM team to fan out for capital

Krishnagar, Nov. 6: Like the industrially advanced states, Bengal will intensify its hunt for foreign capital by sending out senior ministers on hard-sell missions abroad.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who has been shouldering the drive to attract investors for the five years that he has been in office, today said plans have been drawn up for his senior colleagues to unveil Bengal's comeback story.

'We are committed to industrial development and the progress in this area in the past five years has been a major achievement,' he told a rally here to mark the November revolution and his term as chief minister.

Commerce and industries minister Nirupam Sen is now in China to woo potential investors there.

'Asim Dasgupta (the finance minister) would leave for the US soon. Many other ministers would also be sent to bring industrialists to Bengal,' Bhattcharjee said.

'The Chinese will invest in power. We will take their help to build power plants at Sagardighi in Murshidabad. Talks are also on to bring investment from them in several other sectors. I can give details about these after Nirupam Sen returns,' he added.

Investment would also be sought from Japan, Singapore and other east Asian countries to develop infrastructure.

'I have already been to Japan and Singapore. They are expected to invest in power, iron and steel, port and petrochemicals. Most of the infrastructure investments would be in Burdwan, especially Durgapur, and in Bankura. Money for ports would be pumped into Calcutta and Haldia,' the chief minister said.

Bhattacharjee, who has largely succeeded in getting the CPM to back him in the bid to industrialise the state, continued to weave a dream of a thriving Bengal.

For IT-enabled industries, he said talks are on with the Americans.

Companies like 'IBM and Cognizant are interested in investing in a bigger way', which would benefit lakhs of computer literate and English-speaking youths.

'The US companies have assured me that they would invest here soon. A team of entrepreneurs from the US will visit our state after Asim Dasgupta has his round of talks with them,' Bhattacharjee added.

Kalyani, 45 km from Calcutta, would be developed as a 'city of educational excellence'. The chief minister said the Reliance group would also build an IT park in Kalyani.

'We have allocated 200 acres of non-agricultural land for the Reliance project. Thousands of students from our state can take IT lessons here and get placements here itself. Not a single student of this state would have to go outside to learn computers or get jobs.'

The biggest challenge, the chief minister admitted, 'is to ensure implementation of these projects at the earliest'.

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