The state which was at one time known as the strike capital of the country has brought down man-days lost to industrial action to zero from 75 lakh annually, said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday as she wooed investors from across the globe at a big-ticket business summit here.
Banerjee, addressing a large gathering of industry tycoons at the Bengal Global Business Summit, however also took a dig at the central government urging the states Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to talk to central authorities to ensure that industrialists are not disturbed by some agencies.
The chief minister also revealed the state planned to set up a Rs 72,000-crore industrial zone in the densely forested backward Junglemahal area along the eastern freight corridor being built by the Centre linking North India with West Bengals ports. Adani groups chief Gautam Adani, who according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is now the richest Indian with a net worth of $ 100 billion, responded to her speech by announcing his group would invest Rs 10,000 crore in West Bengal over the next decade.
We have allocated 2,483 acre of industrial land at Purulia for the Junglemahal Shundori Kormonagari project along the eastern freight corridor from Amritsar to Dankuni, she said.
She said the state will work on eight pillars of development going ahead, including infrastructure, education, social security, skill development and ease-of-doing-business.
Bengal is the first state to organise a physical business summit since the Covid pandemic struck. It is the gateway to eastern and northeastern India, neighbouring Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal as well as South East Asia, Banerjee pointed out.
We lost 75 lakh man-days every year during the Left Front rule, but now no man-days are lost, she added.
She said the state has also readied a policy on grant of shale-gas exploration licences.
Banerjee added that by 2023, the state will join the national gas grid. Though the chief minister did not name any central agency she made it obvious her apparent dig was in response to recent income tax raids and Enforcement Directorate actions against a number of top firms, drawing applause from a section of the industrialists present at the Summit.
Banerjee, while concluding her speech at the summit, said, Through the governor I want (to) tell, if you dont mind, Governor sir (that you speak) on behalf of all industrialists as they cannot open their mouth. We want all help from the central government. (In the next) Governors conference please raise it. Please see industrialists are not disturbed through some agencies.
The governor who inaugurated the summit earlier said the state has enormous potential for growth and called Banerjees leadership mature, in a departure from his usual, strident criticism.
Dhankhar said West Bengal “was a land of opportunity” which needs to replicate its earlier success story. Bengal along with Bombay province were the most industrialised provinces of India at the time of independence.
However the Governor also added, “There is a need to combat flight of capital, implicitly speaking of the closure of factories that has happened during the last few years, many of them because of Covid pandemic-induced economic slowdown.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)