Economist turned Finance Minister of West Bengal, Amit Mitra, was in Mumbai with just one objective. To impress upon the business community that the State has turned a new leaf after years of labour strikes. At a road show organised by FICCI for the Bengal Global Business Summit 2016, Mitra said that the Mamta Banerjee government being pro-poor did not mean it is anti-business. In an interview with BusinessLine, he shared his views on the emerging opportunities in West Bengal. Edited excerpts:
The image of West Bengal took a hit after the anti-Tata Motors agitation in Singur. What are the steps being taken to restore it?
I think the numbers speak for themselves, as the Tata Group employs 30,000 people in West Bengal. Their joint venture Tata Hitachi is expanding with three more subsidiaries. Tata Metaliks is asking for 300 acres of additional land in the State. The Groupís IT company, TCS, is setting a 40-acre campus. The top Tata companies are expanding in the State.
Any updates on the investment commitments made during the Bengal Global Business Summit held in January?
Commitments of ₹2.43-lakh crore were offered, of which, ₹91,000 crore is in the process of being deployed. Some companies have already bought land and others in the process of buying.
What is the land available for industrial projects in the State, as there is stiff resistance to land acquisition from local holders?
We already have 4,000 acres of fully developed infrastructure-enabled industrial land and another 4,000 acres is being developed. The various departments of the West Bengal Government are also holding over one lakh acres, which can also be used for industrial development. Our land bank is enough to meet the industrial requirements. We are also considering procuring land from companies that have closed down, for which a committee has also been formed. The land issue is a bogeyman created by others.