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HindustanTimes Wed,03 Sep 2014

US to treat WB as partner state for investment: Mamata

PTI  Kolkata, May 07, 2012
First Published: 13:24 IST(7/5/2012) | Last Updated: 15:27 IST(7/5/2012)

The US has agreed to treat West Bengal as a partner state for investment in the changed political situation, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said in Kolkata
on Monday.

"As per partner state, they will invest in West Bengal which was not taking place due to the political situation in the past," Banerjee told reporters after a 52-minute meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

She also said that the issue of FDI in retail did not come up during the meeting. She said that the areas identified for US investment were IT, software sector, manufacturing, deep sea port, tourism, health care and education.

"They will give full support for economic and business development," Banerjee said, adding that Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh and US Ambassador Nancy Powell would coordinate and monitor the progress.

Describing her meeting with Clinton as "positive, constructive, creative and concrete", the chief minister said that Teesta water-sharing agreement and FDI in retail issues did not figure in the discussion.

"There were no talks about Teesta (water-sharing with Bangladesh). There were no talks on FDI in retail. No nuclear or strategic issues were discussed," Banerjee told reporters in reply to a volley of questions.

Clinton welcomed the political change in the state after 34 years and expressed her happiness at the implementation of programmes taken up. "We discussed many issues. She congratulated us. Clinton appreciated our passion of work and implementation of programmes."

"My boundary is limited. I am a small person," the chief minister said when asked if strategic issues and nuclear issues were discussed. She said that she had informed Clinton that the situation in the Darjeeling Hills and Junglemahal was normal now.

"There were some problems in Darjeeling and Junglemahal when we came to power. Now it is settled and peace has been restored." Taking pride in Clinton's visit, she said, "This is a matter of pride that a US secretary of state has come and talked to us here for the first time after independence.

"We are all happy and we think that West Bengal should be a destination for investment. This is not my credit but the victory of the Ma, Mati, Manush (Mother, Land and people)," she said.

Stating that she laid stress on the development of the entertainment industry, she sought a joint endeavour to promote Bengal's entertainment industry along with Hollywood and Bollywood.

"Clinton said they will discuss and let us know," the chief minister said. She told the US secretary of state that that Shah Rukh Khan was the brand ambassador for West Bengal and frequently visited the US to which Clinton replied that he was very popular in the US and had fans there.

The chief minister said that Clinton gifted her a mat with Tagore's picture embossed on it with a line from his song 'aguner parashmoni chhoaon prane' inscribed on it.

Banerjee also sought Clinton's cooperation to hold a world youth festival to commemorate Swami Vivekananda's address at the Chicago world religious festival where he had addressed the gathering as 'brothers and sisters of America'.

"She told me that she will speak to the Mayor of Chicago and let me know," Banerjee said. Banerjee said that if possible, President Barack Obama
should come to such a programme here as also Clinton and her daughter Chelsea.

The chief minister presented Clinton a scarf from Santiniketan, an English translation of Tagore's Gitanjali, a copy of Gitabitan, the collected work of Swami Vivekananda and a book on Sri Ramakrishna brought from the Belur Math.


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