The Telegraph
Tuesday , August 19 , 2014
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Bengal, Singapore to set up business centre in Calcutta

Singapore, Aug 19 (PTI): West Bengal and Singapore on Tuesday decided to jointly set up a Business Centre in Calcutta as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to discuss industry, business and trade.

Describing the meeting as “positive, constructive and fruitful”, Mamata said West Bengal and Singapore would set up the business centre in 18 months.

Lee has been invited to inaugurate the centre.

Mamata, who arrived here on Monday on her first overseas visit after assuming office in 2011, said she talked with Lee about the land bank, land map and power bank of the State.

”The meeting with Singapore Prime Minister was positive and fruitful. Mr Lee was very cordial,” said Banerjee.

”We have invited Mr Lee to visit our State. We told him about the progress made by Changi Airport in the construction of Andal airport,” she said.

”We told Mr Lee that we want to create a Chair at Calcutta University in the name of his father and the first Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew. We want to develop the relation between Bengal and Singapore in a more cordial manner,” she said.

According to Mamata, Lee inquired about the multinational corporations working in West Bengal, like those from Japan.

She told Lee to about investment opportunities in her state.

“We have a lot of scope for tourism. We told him (Mr Lee) about the scope of investment in our Financial Hub and informed him about the urban cities that are being developed,” said Mamata, who also told the Singapore Prime Minister that this was her first foreign trip in the last 15 years.

“I told the Prime Minister that since the time difference between Calcutta and Singapore is just two and a half hours, it will be an important advantage in business,” she said.

”We also told Mr Lee that the loss of mandays in Bengal has come down from 78 lakhs to zero. We also informed him about our GDP growth and other such statistics,” Mamata said.

she said the Singapore Prime Minister has wished her and the West Bengal well and hoped that state’s business meeting Wednesday would be a success.

”We chose Singapore for investment destination because of geographical, historical, political and cultural reasons. We have requested the Singapore Prime Minister to make Calcutta a part of the diamond jubilee celebrations of India-Singapore ties,” she said.

Celebrations of 50 years of diplomatic relations between India and Singapore were inaugurated by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Singapore Foreign Minister K Shanmugam last Saturday.