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Millennium Post

Eyes fixed on Singapore for now

The dark clouds looked dour enough in the early morning sky on 21 July , 2011, in Kolkata, yet many a head turned at the mention of a familiar landmark as all buses, taxis and autos chanted out: Brigade Chalo. On a week day, you could not escape the rhetoric of ‘paribartan’, but in torrential rain, lakhs poured into the Brigade parade ground to watch the phenomenon called Mamata Banerjee who had just come to power and created history after toppling the 34-year-old Left Front government in Bengal.

Today, in her first ever visit to a foreign country after becoming the chief minister, Banerjee is hopeful that talks can open new investment avenues. Invited by minister for external affairs in Singapore K Shanmugam to visit their country, Banerjee is keen on seeking investments in the state and keeping her fingers crossed about the efficacy of the tour.

‘I am going for a tour after so many years and that too in an Asian country, which takes not more than four hours by air. Please, let us be positive about the visit,’ she said before she left for Singapore.

Authorities of the Singapore-based Changi Airports International (CAI) are already in talks with Banerjee’s delegates and are busy apprising them of the progress at the upcoming aerotropolis (airport city) at Andal near Durgapur. The project is being developed by the Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Ltd (BAPL) and Changi is said to have a 26 per cent stake in it along with four other Indian companies, drawing an investment of about Rs 5,000 crore.

Discussions have also taken place regarding ‘ways in which Changi can bring in fresh investments exploring new business possibilities from Singapore, into its Aerotropolis project in Bengal and thereby participate in the state’s industrial resurgence’.

The multi-faceted chief minister has walked a tightrope since her coronation but also managed to fulfill many of her promises. Before her maiden trip to Singapore, as is evident from her oozing confidence and overwhelming charisma, Banerjee is sure to strike the right balance once again and win over crucial foreign direct investment in key projects in Bengal.

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