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Bengal goes all out for Boeing hub

Bengal Govt is in a race against Maharashtra, Andhra and Karnataka to persuade Boeing to set up a MRO hub in the state.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2006 11:33 IST

The West Bengal government is in a race against Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to persuade US aircraft maker Boeing to set up a Maintainance, Repair and Operations (MRO) hub near Kolkata.

"This is our target project. We are very serious about it," Industry Secretary Sabyasachi Sen told reporters on his return here yesterday after a week-long tour of the US with Chief Secretary Amit Kiran Deb to woo investors.

He indicated the state government was hopeful about bagging the project despite Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel's earlier announcement that it would come up at Nagpur.

"Boeing has not formally announced its decision of having the MRO hub in Nagpur. Besides, Hyderabad and Bangalore are also in the race," Sen said.

In reply to a question, Sen said Boeing had not given its reaction yet to the West Bengal government's proposal. "Boeing has its headquarters in Seattle. We could not go there. We met its representative Jean Pritchard in Washington. Her brief was only to listen."

Meantime, the state is losing no time in presenting its case more forcefully to Boeing. "We will lose no time in ascertaining what Boeing wants. It can have full or partial MRO activities here. If they want it near the existing NSC Bose International Airport, we can talk to the Airports Authority of India and make arrangements."

Pointing out that the state government was also planning to set up a second airport, south of the metropolis, with private participation, Sen said Boeing was welcome to set up its MRO hub there as well if it so wanted.

"On our part, we have communicated to Ms Pritchard our offer for land and related infrastructure. We will lose no time in ascertaining what they want," he said.

During the week long visit as part of a delegation led by Union Minister of State for Industry Aswini Kumar, Sen and Deb also met officials of the US Trade Development Agency.

"It is a federal agency which carries out feasibility studies for various projects and then markets the projects to investors. This means that the projects actually have clearance from a US federal agency, which makes them more acceptable to investors. We will keep close contact with this agency. We will have to take the benefits," Sen said.

Stating that the USTDA would post a representative at the US Consulate here from next month, Sen said this was an indication of how seriously the US was considering West Bengal as an investment destination.

First Published: Jun 13, 2006 14:53 IST