Mamata Banerjee woos India Inc, says West Bengal better for investment now

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Mamata Banerjee woos India Inc, WB better for investment
Mumbai: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today met top industrialists, including Reliance Industries Limited chairman Mukesh Ambani and Tata Consultancy Services chairman N Chandrasekaran, in Mumbai today. She said the state was more investment friendly now with a "good work culture".

Ms Banerjee spoke to reporters after an hour-long closed door meeting with about 40 top industry leaders.

"Earlier, because of strikes, it was a minus point from the industry point of view," she said, adding that after Trinamool Congress came to power, the number of manhours lost due to strikes has declined.

"The work culture is very good nowadays and we don't support any strike or a bandh. We believe that there should be a good relationship between industrialists and workers," Ms Banerjee said.

Her government had framed a detailed land use policy and created a 10,000 acre land-bank for industrial purposes apart from creating 'an employment bank', she said.

However, Ms Banerjee refused to comment on the Singur land controversy. She said it is a sub-judice matter, but added that ultimate solution will make both the industry as well as the farmers happy.

"Whatever I've done for Singur, I'm proud to do. I'm in favour of industry and I am in favour of agriculture too. Don't worry, industry will also smile and agriculture will also smile," she said, reminding the audience that Mr Chandrasekaran was present in the meet, while Shapoorji Pallonji, the largest shareholder in Tata Sons, had agreed to create a project of 20,000 houses.

It may be noted that Trinamool Congress opposition to land acquisition in Singur had forced Tata group move its small car (Nano) project out of West Bengal to Gujarat.

Others who attended the meeting included Uday Kotak of Kotak Mahindra Bank, ICICI Bank's Chanda Kochhar, Sanjiv and Harsh Goenka, Nitin Paranjpe of Hindustan Unilver, Sajjan Jindal, ITC's YC Deveshwar and Ashok Hinduja.

Listing the opportunities for investment in the state, Ms Banerjee claimed that Mukesh Ambani described West Bengal as a "gold mine" at the meeting.

Accompanied by her finance minister Amit Mitra, Ms Banerjee declined to give a specific target on the investment front saying she had presented her case to industrialists who will now prepare a plan.

"Today, we announced all projects where they can invest and now they will decide whether to invest. I am confident we will get investments," she said.

She also debunked adverse reports on law and order issues, especially about the safety of women. She claimed if the reports were true, her party would not have won 80 per cent of the seats in the local body polls last week.

Her government had decided to create a financial hub in Kolkata which will also have 'a World Trade Centre', she said.


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