| Dhoot: High on Bengal
Calcutta, Nov. 30: Videocon today said conditions for industry were “conducive” in most of Bengal, playing down the possibility of Nandigram affecting investor confidence.
“The business climate in Bengal is good. The problem of Nandigram is restricted to only a small area. In the rest of the state, conditions are conducive for industry,” said Venugopal N. Dhoot, the chairman of Videocon and president of business chamber Assocham.
An Infosys official, while referring to lack of pace in Bengal in allotting land, had mentioned yesterday that Nandigram had created “a misconception” among clients.
Dhoot was in Calcutta to release an Assocham study that ranked Bengal third in terms of investment announcements made during the first 11 months of 2007.
“There is a propaganda going on. But the investment numbers talk about a different picture. I don’t know about (the) political or social problem of Nandigram. I only understand economics,” Dhoot added.
He praised chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s approach. “Investment is coming because he has stuck his neck out for the cause of industry.”
T.V. Mohandas Pai, the human resource director of Infosys, had said: “The news of Nandigram has even reached Bangalore and it creates a misconception and fear psychosis in the minds of clients.”
Asked about Pai’s contention that land was not easily available here, Dhoot said: “Other IT companies are buying land to build campuses. Infosys has not come, but Wipro and TCS have… rules could not be broken for one company.”
The speedbreaker in the Infosys project is land price, which the IT giant finds too high. Infosys had initially wanted the government to provide around 100 acres but it later scaled down the requirement by a few notches.
Assocham will hold a spe- cial session on Bengal at the India-European Union meet in Brussels on December 3 and 4. It will highlight business opportunities in the state to international investors.
According to the study, investment proposals worth Rs 215,000 crore have been announced in 2007 and Rs 50,000 crore will flow into the state in the next four months. Steel, real estate, chemicals and petrochemicals are some of the big drivers of investment in Bengal, the study says.
The study refers to 31 big projects, including Dhoot’s Rs 15,000-crore steel and power plant near Asansol.
His company is also developing four special economic zones (SEZs) in Bengal. Two of them are multi-product, one for biotech and the other electronics. It is setting up an IT park in Salt lake and an LCD television-manufacturing facility in Calcutta. Videocon has a unit that makes consumer appliances in the state.