Industry wants Mamata to make WB economy a `trend-setter`
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Last Updated: Sunday, May 29, 2011, 17:42
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.


First Published: Sunday, May 29, 2011, 17:42

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