Business Standard

Bengal to invest $15 bn in infrastruc­ture


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ( pictured) on Monday said her government would invest $15 billion over the next five years to improve infrastruc­ture, which would encourage investors to pump capital into the state.

“In the coming years, around $15 billion will be invested in West Bengal to improve infrastruc­ture,” she said during her address at an event organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce here.

Her pitch for investment revolved around the strategic importance of the state. “(West) Bengal is a gateway to Asia and South-East Asia. From Bengal, you can nurture Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, north-east India and east India,” she said. Internatio­nal locations like Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore could be tapped with a presence in West Bengal, she added. “Even China and Japan are not far (from West Bengal),” she said.

Banerjee supported her statement by citing the availabili­ty of talent in the state. “In the last four years, 17 new universiti­es and 46 new colleges have come up,” she pointed out.

She positioned West Bengal as an investment-friendly destinatio­n and said the ease of doing business had improved.

The fourth season of the Bengal Global Business Summit is scheduled to be held on January 16-17 and the chief minister has been actively campaignin­g to bring big-ticket investment into the state. She travelled to Mumbai recently to confirm the participat­ion of Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and JSW group Chairman Sajjan Jindal. The chief minister has also invited steel mag nat eL N Mitt alto attend the event.

Banerjee said 30 countries had confirmed their participat­ion in the summit and agreements with the Oxford University and Edinburgh University were likely to be concluded soon.

She admitted legacy issues of the former Left Front government continued to plague perception about the West Bengal but added that this was changing.

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