Bengal fishes for Mumbai project

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By SATISH NANDGAONKAR in Mumbai
  • Published 9.08.08
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Mumbai, Aug. 8: For a change, Bengal has struck while the iron is hot but Maharashtra’s sway over its son is still holding.

The Bengal government has offered to host a Rs 8,000-crore liquid crystal display panel unit that has run into rough weather in the western industrial haven, Videocon has said.

“Yes, Buddhadebji had telephoned me. In fact, I have just received a formal letter from the West Bengal information technology secretary inviting us to Calcutta. They have offered to give us land wherever we choose, including near the international airport, and offered all co-operation,” Videocon chairman and managing director Venugopal Dhoot told The Telegraph. He said chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee phoned him on Wednesday.

However, an official in the chief minister’s secretariat said in Calcutta: “It’s not that today or yesterday the chief minister had spoken to Dhoot. But in an earlier meeting, he had told the Videocon chief not to relocate from Maharashtra to Hyderabad but come to Bengal. The chief minister told him that the Bengal government would offer all assistance.”

Bengal IT minister Debesh Das said Bengal had been trying to persuade Videocon to invest in an LCD project along with a proposed chip venture. Das had held talks with representatives of Videocon on the project on Tuesday.

Dhoot said he had received invitations from Hyderabad, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, too. The entry of so many suitors may compel Maharashtra to keep back Dhoot, who hails from the state.

In that case, the western state holds an advantage. “I am a Maharashtrian and I would like Maharashtra to benefit from the project,” Dhoot said.

In Maharashtra, revenue minister Narayan Rane has put in his papers after alleging that 250 acres have been allotted for the project in Navi Mumbai at a throwaway Rs 300 crore, instead of the “right” price of Rs 3,000 crore. Chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has denied the charge.

With inputs from our Calcutta bureau