Kolkata: Pointing to the fund crunch facing West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday asked industrialists to invest in the state without giving any credence to 'wrong publicity' in the media.

"Invest in West Bengal as the industrial scenario is good in our state. Do not give credence to wrong publicity against our government," Banerjee said at a 'Bijoya Sammilani' in her first interaction with city industrialists after the exit of Haldia Bulk Terminal from Haldia port.

Stating that she was against forcible land acquisition and favoured peaceful co-existence of industry and agriculture, Banerjee said "for the industry, we have land. We have a land bank and a power bank. We have set up e-governance.

Agro-based industries could be set up on 500 acre. "We have land at Sankrail, Haldia. At Goaltore, we have 1,000 acres where 500 acres can be earmarked for manufacturing industries," she said, adding a cabinet committee on infrastructure has been set up.

Listing investment proposals cleared by the government, she said "many proposals have been cleared. Jindal's land proposals have been cleared as also many others."

Urging industrialists to submit their proposals to the government, Banerjee said "you can come up with proposals for joint venture, PPP model."

She drew attention to the possibility of promoting tourism, cultural tourism, and tea tourism in the state. "Tourism can be promoted further in the Sunderbans, Digha and Sagar Islands.

She announced an eco-tourism park on 400 acre at Rajarhat in North 24 Parganas district would be inaugurated on December 28.

Industrialists Sanjiv Goenka, Harsh Neotia, Kurush Grant (ITC executive director), C K Dhanuka and Tata Ryerson Managing Director Sandipan Chakraborty were present at the get-together at a posh south Kolkata address.

Criticising the Centre for imposing an embargo on setting up new industries at Haldia, Banerjee said "we have repeatedly requested them to lift the embargo but they are not listening."

She announced formation of a small committee, headed by Sanjiv Goenka, to plead with the Centre for lifting the embargo at Haldia.

Slamming a section of the media, Banerjee said "there is bad propaganda from different quarters and vested interests. But I can't bulldoze any media house."

On her stiff opposition to entry of FDI in retail, she said "why should Wallmart take away retail business? Why not you? I want to encourage you to take your products from Bengal and India to the world.

"We are not against foreigners doing business. I have no quarrel. But I want to protect interests of farmers whose livelihood will be at stake," she said.

She also told industrialists not to give money to political agents and said "if you have problems, you let us know."

Referring to the 'legacy of financial bankruptcy left by previous Left Front government', she said "we have been managing our finances from our own resource generation. We have not received a single paise from the Centre and we don't have the money power."

Sanjiv Goenka said "it was a very good interaction. It will instill confidence to invest in the state. Sandipan Chakraborty said "it is an excellent and direct interaction. She and her colleagues are very transparent".     Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee said Rs 1.90 lakh crore in 222 investment proposals were received till October since May last year.

"Besides, employment generation is up to three lakh without taking the IT sector," he claimed. Chatterjee said projects would have to be set up within three years.

There was a committee to examine and approve of land beyond the ceiling on a case-to-case basis, he added. Stating that the state is leading in the country in the small scale industry (SSI), Banerjee also announced that they will step up SSI units at a 100 acre plot in Shantiniketan.

"There is a huge scope for employment in this sector," she said, seeking investment in multi-specialty hospitals under the PPP model.


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