The Telegraph
Friday , October 12 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Unintended industry home truth

Calcutta, Oct. 11: A business chamber today told the Bengal government that “lack of industries is not something to hide” — the advice following close on the heels of a disclosure that unwittingly highlighted the paucity of projects in the state.

Assocham today urged the Mamata Banerjee government to be more proactive in attracting “big-ticket” investments.

“There is lack of industries and this is not something to hide. Industry has not been coming in the last few years in Bengal,” Assocham secretary-general D.S. Rawat said on the sidelines of a meeting. “We have said more than once that there is a need to attract big-ticket investment to the state. The state government needs to come forward and give more confidence to investors.”

Earlier at the same event, power secretary Malay De said the state had to lower generation by 500MW today because of lack of buyers. “I have the fuel to generate power but I can’t recover the variable cost if I sell it in the market.”

Sources later said De meant to say that because of the poor condition of power boards in other states, there were not enough buyers.

But the piece of statistics helped Rawat underscore his point that had there been many big industrial projects in Bengal itself, the need to look for buyers of power outside would not have arisen.

“This is a matter of concern for the government. Ideally, there should be some shortage of power, which is an indication that the state is progressing and industry is expanding,” Rawat said.

The Delhi-based Assocham has been vocal about the state of industry in Bengal but Rawat had earlier commended the state government for introducing procedural changes in land rules.