The Telegraph
Tuesday , December 11 , 2012
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City date with mega minds and big bucks

- Watch out for Mamata vs Nitish in look-east pitch at weekend YPO retreat with business maharajas

Within a week of meeting the “golden brains of the world”, Mamata Banerjee has a date with the moneybags and masterminds of the world as the Young Presidents’ Organisation (YPO) celebrates its South-Asian annual regional retreat in Calcutta for the first time.

Thanks to the three-day closed-door event, where 580-odd business owners are set to assemble, this weekend will see the city play host to a galaxy of business maharajas with the likes of Kumar Mangalam Birla and Vijay Mallya sharing the spotlight with investment guru Marc Faber and Tomas Prenosil, of luxury Swiss chocolate maker Confiserie Sprungli, best-selling author Lord Jeffrey Archer and Uzi Arad, former head of the Israeli National Security Council, Satguru Jaggi Vasudev and vice-admiral Anil Chopra, Indigo boss Rahul Bhatia and Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan.

In a city where the common complaint is that nothing happens, 2012 sure is ending with a bang. It was all kicked off by the IT summit Infocom, an initiative of Businessworld, an ABP Group publication, followed by the PanIIT Global Conference 2012, partnered by The Telegraph.

While the Bengal chief minister gave Infocom a miss, on Friday the 7th she urged 2,000-plus IITians from around the world to lobby for investment in Bengal. She is expected to carry the “please look at Bengal” message to the YPO crowd in her keynote address on Friday the 14th.

In wooing investment to the east, she will face a formidable fight from a neighbour making all the right noises — Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who is quite a star on the “confidential” YPO event list.

But Mamata can draw heart from the way the Calcutta Chapter of YPO-WPO (World Presidents’ Organisation) has pitched the city to woo leaders from the world of business.

A video on Roll Cal Roll 2012 — the title of the event — mirroring the many sights and sounds, moods and meanings of Calcutta, has gone viral on YouTube.

The meet comprises closed-door interactive sessions at Hyatt Regency and some off-site events. A top outdoor draw will be warships INS Airavat and INS Karmuk stationed at the Kidderpore dock to familiarise guests with the Indian Navy.

The organisers, led by event chairman Jyoti Vardhan Sonthalia, co-chair Akhshay Poddar, industrialists Karan Paul, Sanjiv Goenka, Rajeev Jhawar and Sanjay Budhia have planned unique city events like a walk-through with photographer Raghu Rai, an art camp by Paresh Maity and a river cruise to Belur Math.