Mamata holds court, woos industrialists
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday held a lively interaction with captains of industry, trying to woo investment for her state.
Banerjee patiently heard industrialists who unfolded a long list of grievances and problems and came up with their suggestions during the two-hour interaction.
"I want to work fast. Many people ask me what is the need to work so fast. But I think that while working there can be blunders and we will learn from those blunders. But I am not ready to sit idle year after year," said Banerjee during the meeting with industrialists from West Bengal and other states.
The industrialists pointed out the state's infrastructural shortcomings and underlined the need for reviving the lost work culture to ensure rapid industrialisation.
On some occasions, she gave prompt replies and assured that the problems will be solved.
"How can we restore a healthy work culture when strikes and bandhs (shutdowns) are daily routine?" asked an industrialist.
"For the last two-three years, we have not called any shutdown. We know very well that people don't like this. If anybody has to do bandh (shutdown), then he has to keep the gates of factory open," came a prompt reply from Banerjee.
She deftly parried questions on what kind of help investors could get from the state government regarding land acquisition.
When industrialists started barraging Banerjee on the state's draft land use policy, a smiling Banerjee ducked the queries saying: "I am not getting anything. Nothing is getting into my head."
The 56-year-old firebrand leader was in a jovial mood throughout the session and pulled state Industries Minister Partha Chaterjee's leg for being overweight.
"He will never be slim. This is his structure. We all have to work together. And we all have to make Parthada run to ensure work is done rapidly," said a laughing Banerjee.
Banerjee also poked fun at Chatterjee for not knowing properly the name of one of the lady officials of his department.
She also clapped when an industrialist recited a Urdu couplet.
When Abhishek Dalmiya, son of industrialist and cricket czar Jagmohan Dalmiya, enquired about road infrastructure, Banerjee assured that the problems will be addressed.
Banerjee also expressed her regrets for not being able to attend Abhishek's weeding reception a few days back.
"You got married a few days back, right? I am sorry I couldn't attend your reception. I am sorry," said Banerjee.
As the interactive session stretched to over two hours, Banerjee, playing the perfect host, enquired, "Are you not thirsty? We have arranged for some tea and sweets."
While signing off, Banerjee requested the electronic media persons not to shadow the industrialists while they are having their refreshments.