Darjeeling: While it was a homecoming for many of the prospective investors attending the Hill Business Summit in Darjeeling, others talked of strong bonds with the Queen of the Hills. The two-day-long business summit commenced on a very positive note at Darjeeling Chowrasta on Tuesday.
For Chandrajit Banerjee, director general, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), co-organiser of the business summit, it was a homecoming. "My grandfather had started his business in Darjeeling. Later, my father shifted the business and migrated to Kolkata," stated Banerjee. The DG added that West Bengal is fast emerging as a global destination.
"Darjeeling is the birthplace of our company. Despite having units in nearly all districts of West Bengal, we do not have a unit here, owing to various reasons and political uncertainty. However in the next 24 months, we will invest in Darjeeling," assured Mayank Jalan, chairman and MD, Keventer Agro Ltd.
"We have been visiting North Bengal for the past 14 years and have been aspiring to do something in the Darjeeling – the most beautiful place in the world. We have secured two properties in the Hills and will be initiating hospitality projects," stated Harshavardhan Neotia, chairman, Ambuja Neotia Group.
The two projects are coming up in Ghoom, 8 km from Darjeeling town and at Makaibari near Kurseong town.
"We will be initially investing Rs 150 crore each in the two properties. The first phase of Makaibari is scheduled to be completed by 2019, with the first phase of Ghoom by 2020. We are also contemplating investments in the education sector as in the past, Darjeeling has been an education hub," stated Neotia.
The Luxmi Group could be investing in the health and education sectors. "Darjeeling came into existence as a health sanatorium. It later developed into an education hub. Time for economic opportunity for the Hills has come," stated Rudra Chatterjee, director, Luxmi Group.
"A clear picture will emerge at the closing session on Wednesday," stated CM Mamata Banerjee. She urged the investors to invest in Darjeeling, stressing on the immense potential of the Hills. She also appealed to the Hill civic bodies to keep the Hills "clean and green". She asked CII to prepare an action plan to resolve the water scarcity problem prevalent in the Hills.
"We assure all prospective investors of our support, help and cooperation in their future ventures in the Hills," stated Binay Tamang, chairman, Board of Administrators, GTA.