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Bengal Business Summit wins 'world'

Kolkata: Pitching strongly in favour of investment in Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the state has now become the ideal business destination because of its geographical location, skilled workforce and warmth of the people who believe in harmony and mutual respect.

Addressing a huge gathering at the 5th edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) at the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre on Friday afternoon, she said: "Bengal is marching ahead. We are the destination for farmers, traders and businessmen. None can match the talent and human capital of our state. We have an incredible land policy along with policies on IT and Housing. We are number one in the country in e-governance, MSME, skill development, MGNREGA and construction of rural roads."

The Chief Minister further added: "Come to Bengal and we are there to welcome you with open arms. There is no discrimination here and we follow the Indian tradition of Unity in Diversity."

The two-day gala business show witnessed the participation of members from around 36 countries including United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Polland, Japan, UAE, Czech Republic and France.

Banerjee stated that the state government is committed to create better investment opportunities for the poor and the downtrodden. She said during the 34 years of Left Front rule, the industrial scenario in Bengal has turned from bad to worse. "There was loss of man-days that had touched 75 million. After coming to power, we have reduced it to zero. The industrial scenario in Bengal has improved and things are looking up. There are stars on the stage who have come to Bengal with an intention to invest here. I welcome them."

Urging the German delegation to reintroduce the Lufthansa flights which got scrapped before the Mamata Banerjee government came to power in 2011, she said: "Please take up the matter with the appropriate authority to restore Lufthansa's flights so that one can reach Germany directly and not via Dubai. I also request you to take up the issue of setting up an automobile factory here in Bengal."

The Chief Minister said in a month's time there will be Lok Sabha elections and the new government will frame a new industrial policy. She also wished all other states including Rajasthan and Gujarat to carry out all-round development and do well in industry. "India will march forward if we all do well," she added.

Calling Kolkata the "City of Hope," Mukesh Ambani, CMD, Reliance Industries Limited, said Bengal is spearheading India's development. "West Bengal is becoming best Bengal," he remarked adding that in the agriculture sector, the state is growing while the MSME sector is playing a crucial role.

Asia's richest man also said Jio and Reliance Retail will shortly launch a unique "new commerce" platform that will empower as many as 3 crore small shopkeepers in India. He further added that RIL has already invested Rs 28,000 crore and another Rs 10,000 crore is in the pipeline.

He maintained that the growth of Bengal means the growth of eastern India. He also maintained that the RIL will donate Satyen Bose chair in the Physics department of Calcutta University.

In 2019, India is going to become the fifth largest economy with only the USA, China, Germany and Japan ahead of it. If proper steps are taken now, India can outshine China and become the largest economy in the world by 2047 when the country celebrates the centenary of its Independence.

Rajan Bharti Mittal, who is coming to the city after many years, said: "Mamata Banerjee has really changed the face of this city. Airtel had launched the first mobile phone in Kolkata in the 1990s and also the 4G network in the city. In agriculture and healthcare, the state government has contributed remarkably."

Leading industrialist Niranjan Hiranandani said the people of Bengal are lucky to have "such a loving and passionate Chief Minister. She is super se upper."

Sajjal Jindal, managing director, JSW Group, stated that the firm will set up a museum on the Partition of Bengal in 1947. "The museum will carry the entire history of how Bengal was partitioned and the movements launched by the revolutionaries in the region."

Sanjiv Goenka, chairman, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, said his company has invested Rs 23,000 crore in Bengal where "the leadership is clear in decision making and the administration is outstanding and transparent. Referring to India Today which has termed Mamata Banerjee as the No. 1 Chief Minister in India, he added: "Bengal means business and Bengal is in business." He urged the investors to come and invest in the state.

Sanjiv Puri, ITC's CEO, said the ITC Royal Bengal, the group's premium hotel, will be opened shortly and the final touches are being given.

Purnendu Chatterjee urged the foreign delegates to utilise the talent pool in Bengal not only in the cities but also in the rural areas. Chatterjee who is the chairman of The Chatterjee Group said his company will set up centres for neuroscience, quantum technology and Blockchain where intense research will be carried out.

Rudra Chatterjee, chairman of Luxmi Group of Industries said: "The size of Bengal is larger than the USA in terms of population and its consumption power is growing rapidly because of major social developments." He also added that his company will soon set up a health city project in Siliguri. He urged businessmen to come to Bengal and said the CM will always encourage them.

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