West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday took fresh guard at the 7th edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS), wooing investors to a “peaceful and harmonious state with a stable government”.
The loudest response to the pitch came from Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani, who announced an investment of Rs 20,000 crore in the next three years.
“Today, from this podium, let me assure you that Reliance will leave no stone unturned to accelerate Bengal’s growth. Bengal has been one of the largest investment destinations for Reliance. After you invited me, Reliance has invested close to Rs 45,000 crore in West Bengal.” The fresh investment committed by the company would be in Jio (telecom), retail, bio-energy.
The Reliance Foundation has taken up a project to renovate and restore the Kalighat Temple in Kolkata.
A second coming to West Bengal was announced by Harsh Pati Singhania, vice-chairman and managing director, J K Paper. The J K organisation was returning to West Bengal, he said, while announcing a dairy project in Kharagpur.
West Bengal had always been an important part of the group’s development and growth in the past, he said. “However, it faltered because of the difficult conditions in the 1960s and 1970s. But thanks to you, there is now resurgence.”
Devi Shetty, founder and chairman of Narayana Health, who came to Kolkata more than three decades back as a young heart surgeon, said his dream was to build in the city a super-speciality hospital which would be a cutting-edge one with over 1,000 beds.
“It will be a benchmark for the future of health care for the rest of the country; it will happen within two years.”
Rishad Premji, executive chairman, Wipro, said the West Bengal government’s focus on growing the IT industry by not only providing the right policy environment but also a liberal, transparent, and realistic approach towards development was encouraging for companies like his.
“Wipro’s presence in West Bengal is expanding rapidly and we will hope to have two campuses here very soon.”
The existing campus in Salt Lake employs more than 10,000 people over 16 acres. A second campus over 50 acres is being developed.
Companies and industrialists headquartered in Kolkata also reposed their faith in the leadership. ITC Chairman and Managing Director Sanjiv Puri said in the past few years, the company had invested Rs 7,000 crore in West Bengal.
ITC has 17 manufacturing units and one more would come up “in the near future”. In hospitality, it has five properties, and would increase to nine.
Puri said Banerjee’s unique style embedded passion, action, and, more importantly, compassion.
That was evident from Banerjee’s speech as she asked investors to consider it their “sweet home”.
She reeled off numbers to project West Bengal as a favourable investment destination and said that in the last six editions of BGBS, investment proposals of $190 billion had been received. “And I am happy to say projects worth $121 billion are already taking off and that the remaining ones are in various stages of implementation.”
A game-changing opportunity, Banerjee said, is the proposed deep-sea port at Tajpur.
“That is ready. You can participate in the tender. ” The LOA (letter of award) had been given to Adani Group.
The other opportunities are the Deocha Pachami coal block, one of the largest blocks, the Bengal Silicon Valley hub, among many others, Banerjee said.
Banerjee signed off by announcing cricket icon Sourav Ganguly who was present at the summit as the brand ambassador.