Congress, BJP question utility of Mamata's UK trip

 Congress and BJP on Saturday questioned the utility of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's six-day London trip beginning tomorrow to woo investors and expressed doubts whether it would have a positive outcome for the state.

PTI| Updated: Jul 25, 2015, 23:16 PM IST

Kolkata: Congress and BJP on Saturday questioned the utility of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's six-day London trip beginning tomorrow to woo investors and expressed doubts whether it would have a positive outcome for the state.

"She (Banerjee) has already said that even if the trip was 30 per cent fruitful, it could be termed as a grand success. The Chief Minister is already sceptic about the outcome of her tour. I want to know what will she do there (in London). What are her plans? How will she woo the British industrialists to invest in West Bengal," WBPCC president Adhir Chowdhury told reporters here.

Chowdhury wondered if Banerjee would explain to the British industrialists the existence of syndicates, private bodies which sell building materials to promoters for construction purposes in the state and are often involved in squabbles.

Earlier today, Union Minister of State for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Babul Supriyo said, "What is the utility of Mamata Banerjee's London visit?... How will West Bengal benefit from her London visit?"

Banerjee, accompanied by delegation of bureaucrats, MPs and businessmen, would seek increased business ties between UK and West Bengal and also investments into the state.

Supriyo said: "It is also a clear misuse of money. The fact is so much money is being spent on foreign trips, then why the state government is not paying the balance DA to its employees."

The union minister said Banerjee had spoken of transforming Kolkata into London. "We shall be happy if a part of that is done".

He also blamed the syndicates and difficulty in doing business by hindering flow of investments into the state.

Banerjee's trip to London was finalised following an invitation of British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Her six-day visit during which she will seek to project West Bengal as a destination for investment, would begin with a conference of British CEOs at the UK India Business Council meet on July 27.

Referring to Left support for Congress in the borough chairperson election of Siliguri Municipal Corporation, Chowdhury said: "There are plenty of incidents where such understandings had taken place during municipal elections in the past ... There is nothing new in it. But I don't see any possibility of alliance between Congress and the Left parties (for the assembly polls next year)."

He said that he has written to Banerjee appealing to her to take steps to initiate flood relief and assistance to thousands of people affected by the ongoing incessant rainfall in different parts of the state before leaving for UK.

Chowdhury claimed that many districts had received above average rainfall which has affected thousands of people.

"Thousands of people have lost their home and shelter and they are currently staying under the open sky. I will request the Chief Minister to extend all kinds of aid to all affected people irrespective of party lines before she leaves for London," Chowdhury said.