Darjeeling: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee welcomed an investment of Rs 1,500 crore in Darjeeling and Kalimpong on Wednesday and added that Darjeeling as a brand has huge value.
Delivering her address at the closing day of the Summit, Mamata Banerjee, stated: "Our industrialist friends have assured more than Rs 1,500 crore investments in the Hills. This is just the beginning. More investments will definitely pour in."
She added that the Luxmi Group has committed an investment to the tune of Rs 350 crore in Makaibari and Matigarah along with Keventer Agro Limited in the food processing units in the Hills. Sources state that the investment commitment in the food processing and agro-industry is to the tune of Rs 1,200 crore.
Around 18 stress areas have been earmarked for the Hills in the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises and IT sectors.
Those 18 include growing and packaging of tulsi, broom binding, honey collection, ginger processing, cardamom processing, floating handicraft market at Mirik, art and folk centres, homestay website, focus on homestays, tourism skill development, setting up of two IT parks in the Hills, rent-a-cab scheme, fleet taxi operation scheme and rent-a-bike scheme.
Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) presented a vision document at the closing ceremony on Wednesday.
"Darjeeling has a brand value. It enjoys a name and fame. If the state government, GTA, people of Darjeeling and investors work hand-in-hand, no power can stop us," stated the Chief Minister.
Banerjee's oblique remark in Bengali was "Delhi onek dur, Bangla onek kachey. Banglay theke Darjeeling gore tulte hobe. Jokhun jokhun Darjeeling bhalo kore tokhuni phichiye dewar ekta khela chole" (Delhi is far, Bengal is near. Darjeeling has to progress with Bengal. Whenever Darjeeling progresses, there is a conspiracy to pull it back).
She also welcomed investments from Sikkim and added: "You too take part in this initiative to boost development in Darjeeling."
Stressing on skill development in different sectors especially tourism, the Chief Minister stated that the government has given a go-ahead for tea tourism (a certain percentage of the tea garden land can be used for promotion of tourism).
The Chief Minister will inaugurate "Hill MSME Synergy" (a workshop on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises) on Thursday at 10 am at Darjeeling Tourist Lodge.
This Summit will give a positive image of Darjeeling to the outside world because it is a global brand. Darjeeling has such strong branding and attraction, now is the time we build upon it. This Summit will be a catalyst in bringing people together," stated Sanjay Budhia, Chairman, CII National Committee on Exports.