Mamata invites India Inc to Bengal

The issue of land acquisition, bureaucratic bottlenecks and trade union excesses in West Bengal were highlighted as some of the concerns of India Inc when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held a closed-door meeting with top industry leaders here on Monday.

Mamata, Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee and Finance Minister Amit Mitra showcased Bengal as a land of opportunities with surplus power, huge talent pool of human resources and a government with renewed thrust to development.

Mamata and her ministers fielded questions on issues like bureaucratic delays and trade unionism, which have haunted Bengal's prospects as an industrial hub for decades now.

Mamata's government has a policy of not acquiring land for industry. She is learnt to have assured industrial leaders that during her regime, not a single man-hour was lost due to strike.

"Bengal needs to create predictable policies so that there are no uncertainties. As of now there is a long way to go. But the CM is serious and passionate about attracting investments," said Sunil Munjal, joint-MD of Hero Motorcorp.

"The CM means well. But her administration has to follow it up too. Right now any issue that comes to her notice gets sorted promptly. But not every issue can come to her notice all the time," Y K Modi, chairman of Great Eastern Energy Corporation, told reporters.

Out of the 100-odd invites sent, 42 "who's who" from the industry turned up for Mamata's event.

During her visit to Parliament earlier in the day, Mamata made it clear that her government was not going to carry unilateral acquisition of land for industry. "The Central Bill on land acquisition does not take into account those who work on land. The state law will be pro-industry as well as pro-farmer," she said.

Criticising cash-transfer system on Adhaar-linked accounts, Mamata said she was against it. "How will you transfer cash? What is the mechanism? There must be some mechanism so that money can reach the beneficiaries," she said.

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