West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who shot to power based on political movements against land for industries in Singur and Nandigram, faced concerns of several top-notch corporate on availability of land at a meeting here on Monday.
“Several industry leaders raised the land issue in the meeting. It was also pointed out that even highway projects are suffering as the state government is not forthcoming with acquiring land. I think she understood our problems,” said Ajit Gulabchand, managing director of Hindustan Construction Company.
Naina Lal Kidwai, country head of HSBC India that has significant presence in Kolkata, told HT after the meeting, “She had a frank discussion on several issues including land. She clarified that she is opposed to forcible acquisition of land and evicting people. But she also assured that her government will try to find land for industries.”
While most of the industrialists did not commit to any specific investment or new project in the state, finance minister Amit Mitra later claimed that industrialist Puneet Dalmia of Dalmia Cements has propped to set up a Rs. 500- crore factory in Jangalmahal area.
In her first-such interaction with industry brass in the capital, Mamata was also politely reminded that an ample scope still remains to change the negative publicity about Bengal not being a favourable destination for capital.
Kidwai felt that Banerjee’s government is trying to reduce the gap in perception to emerge as an industry-friendly state, Gulabchand told HT, “she is very welcoming about new industries. But there is a huge gap between passionate intention and the implementation of policies.”
Mamata cited different potentials of Bengal particularly in the field of tourism, food processing and IT. She also repeatedly assured investors that their concerns will be taken care of. Top industrialists like Sanjiv Goenka and Harsh Neotia were also present among others, in the meet. Mamata did not take any questions from the media.