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Boost investment climate: US envoy

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, June 21, 2013
First Published: 09:29 IST(21/6/2013) | Last Updated: 09:33 IST(21/6/2013)

There is a need to create more investment-friendly conditions for both national and foreign investors in Bengal, said outgoing US Consul General Dean R Thompson on Thursday.


Speaking at a farewell event organised by the Indian Chambers of Commerce, Thompson said, “Creating a congenial environment for bringing in investment is what the business community and governments at the national, state and local levels need to embrace and strive for.”

“However, as important as it is to set the conditions key to drawing investments, the governments and the business fraternity also need to work towards improving the overall business climate. Once the corporate and industrial bigwigs in the country start exploring investment opportunities in a state or region, foreign investments will follow,” Thompson said.

Yet to shake off the anti-industry tag from the time the Tatas wheeled out the Nano project in Singur, the Mamata government suffered a fresh blow when bulk cargo handler ABG Haldia Bulk Terminals pulled out of Haldia, citing security concerns. The twin blows dented the state’s industrial fortunes and left the Mamata regime to fight opposition fire over the state’s failure to draw big-ticket investments.

Quizzed on the state’s land acquisition policy, which has been a bone of contention for prospective investors, Thompson offered an evasive response, saying, “I am aware the current land policy has put the government at odds with the business community. But I am no expert in the matter.”

Thompson will soon bid adieu to the city after serving a two-year tenure as the consul general and take up his next assignment in July. In addition to his parting call for fostering better climate for investors, the outgoing consul general also called for a re-look at the regulations of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to encourage US colleges to come to India.

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