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Cabinet greenlights Bengal auto park

Calcutta, Dec. 27: The Rs 1-lakh car is yet to roll out but it appears to have evoked enough interest from the auto industry to explore Bengal as an emerging opportunity.

The state cabinet today cleared the proposal for an integrated auto component park at Guptamani near Kharagpur, 150km from Calcutta.

The park, to be developed by the West Bengal Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation and the Calcutta-based Bengal Shrishti Infrastructure Development, would come up over 500 acres.

Announcing the cabinet’s decision at Writers’ Buildings, chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb said land acquisition for the project would start soon. “We are not sure if we will buy the land directly from owners or acquire it,” he added.

The government is trying to woo foreign auto component makers to set up units in the park. Industries minister Nirupam Sen had earlier requested members of the industry chamber German Engineering Federation to invest in the park.

Tata Motors, which is setting up the small-car plant 40km from Calcutta, and its vendors have promised an investment of about Rs 5,000 crore.

Industry observers said the park could attract more automobile companies to Bengal for business.

A government official said the auto component park’s infrastructure should be ready within a year.

The cabinet today also approved the proposal for a shipyard in East Midnapore.

The city-based Apeejay Surendra Group, which runs The Park Hotels, is joining hands with Bharati Shipyard Ltd for the Rs 2,000-crore project.

It is set to come up on 500 acres covering three mouzas where a section of villagers have already vowed to oppose land acquisition.

“The project would provide direct employment to at least 3,000 people and indirect employment to 6,000,” the chief secretary said.

He promised a “comprehensive rehabilitation plan” for the landlosers, which includes a residential colony.

After Garden Reach Shipbuilders, this would be the second large-scale shipyard in the state.

New Year DA

Finance minister Asim Dasgupta today announced a 5 per cent dearness allowance for 10 lakh government employees and four lakh pensioners from January 1. The government would spend an extra Rs 158 crore this financial year because of the decision.

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