Industry wants Mamata to make WB economy a `trend-setter`

Corporate heads based in West Bengal want CM Mamata Banerjee to send a strong signal to investors that the strategically located state will be a `trend-setter and `not a spent force` in the country`s industrial landscape.

New Delhi: Corporate heads based in West
Bengal want Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to send a strong
signal to investors that the strategically located state will
be a "trend-setter" and "not a spent force" in the country`s
industrial landscape.

"We hope to see a turnaround in economic fortunes of the
state with newer investments and most importantly, a change in
perception in the minds of the investors," the Chairman of the
Electronics and Software Export Promotion Council (ESC), S
Radhakrishnan, said.

He said that a perception change is required among
investors that West Bengal "is not a spent force, but a trend
-setter of development and growth".

Radhakrishnan, who runs an engineering consultancy firm
from Kolkata, said the new Trinamool Congress-led government
has shown a "great deal of energy and confidence". The
challenge for the Banerjee government is is to address the
problem of huge debt and achieve some easy deliverables in
the short-term.

According to Reserve Bank data, the state has a debt of
Rs 2 lakh crore.

Sanjay Budhia, the Managing Director of Rs 200 crore
engineering export house Patton, said the initial signals are
positive, but problems of perception need to be addressed
first through an image uplift.

The state suffered an image setback in the eyes of
industry after Tata Motors pulled out its Nano project from
Singur in 2008.

"Also, within the state, there is a negative mindset and
mental block... We have to create an environment to bring the
talent of the state back to West Bengal," he said, adding that
the state can be a gateway to the north-eastern states --
Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Mynamar.

Budhia, who is also chairman of the CII National
Committee on exports, said the trade unions should be led by
people within the organisation and not by outsiders.

Asked about the issue of land and farmers` protests
against acquisition, he said the sites locked in sick and
closed industries should be released and the land banks should
be created.

He suggested "some kind of ownership" for land losers in
industrial projects. Besides, the land valuation should be
proper and justified.

They also expressed confidence that with industry-
friendly ministers like Partha Chatterjee (Industry) and Amit
Mitra (Finance), the new government will be able to win back
the confidence of investors.


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