West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee won the hearts of the Mumbai-based industrialists present at `Bengal Beckons`, the Industrial Meet organized by West Bengal Government at World Trade Center, Mumbai on August 1, 2013 . Your hope is Bengal, I am here because Mumbai is my hope, said the West Bengal CM. Within 50 days, the developmental wave in West Bengal reveals that the West Bengal Chief Minister meant business.
Here is what happened in West Bengal in the last 50 days –
1. Reliance Jio 4G: Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio signed an MoU with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation for laying out 4G network in the city. The company will lay 750 km of optical fibre cable within KMC's jurisdiction, the work for which will start after the Durga Puja. KMC will earn an one-time income of Rs 26 crore from the project. The project will be of Rs 3,000 crore and likely to be completed during the first quarter of 2014. The investment by the company has the potential to generate direct and indirect employment to 5000 people in the state.
2. Airtel 4G: KMC also signed an MoU with Airtel for 4G services to roll-out in Kolkata. Airtel would invest Rs 6,000 crore and would lay 1,000 km of optical fibre network in the city.
3. ACC Cement: the company is setting up a 1.5 million tonne grinding unit at Kharagpur in Paschim Medinipur district, with an investment of Rs 600 crore. Work on the project is expected to begin by January 2014 with completion scheduled for 2016. The company is also engaged in talks with the state government to acquire about 150 acre for the proposed project.
4. MSME/ Biswa Bangla Brand: Mamat Banerjee inaugurated Synergy MSME 2013, a business conclave organised by the Department of Micro and Small Scale Enterprises and Textiles. The six-day conclave, the first-of-its-kind, aims to bring all services related to small and medium scale industries under one roof- named Biswa Bangla Brand. She also unveiled a new logo for Biswa Bangla Brand she herself designed along with a new slogan “Shilpo korun, bangla gorun”. Up to March, 2011 there were 7,000 enterprises in the State but now there are 22,700 micro, small and medium scale enterprises. The Department of Micro and Small Scale Enterprises and Textiles signed eight MoUs with various institutes and also launched its website ~www.myenterprise.wb.gov.in
5. Industry welcomes Bengal investment policy: Industry bodies welcomed the West Bengal Investment and Industrial Policy, 2013, particularly for its measures to reduce paper work and incentives.
While the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has appreciated the State Government`s move to reduce procedural hurdles for any fresh investment proposals, Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) said the final policy would boost fresh investments in view of incentives in terms of VAT refunds, waiver of stamp duty, registration and electricity duty.
According to a CII official, the increased focus on the policy on industrial cluster development, SMEs and public-private partnership will `usher in an overall growth and development of industries in the State`. CII also hailed the State`s focus on infrastructure – roads, highways, bridges and ports – to maximise the State`s industrial growth potential.
“It is a forward looking and pragmatic policy,“ Kallol Datta, President, BCCI, said. MCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry felt that the proposal to develop industrial units in districts would boost small-scale industry.
Sanjay K Jain, Managing Director, TT Ltd and Vice-President, West Bengal Hosiery Association, said the Textile Policy announced by the State would usher in changes in the knitwear and garments industry here. According to him, special emphasis has been given for fabric and garmenting segment of the industry, wherein West Bengal is ideally placed to muster double digit growth and shows traits seen in its neighbour Bangladesh in the field of garment exports.
6. E-tender base level comes down to Rs 5 Lakh: The state government has decided to bring down the base level for e-tendering from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 5 lakh as the government wants most of the development projects to be implemented fast and in a transparent manner. The order will take effect from October 1. Initially e-tendering was mandatory for tender or auction worth Rs 50 lakh and above and gave an option for those of lower amounts.
7. 10,000 acres idle land for industry: The labour department traced about 10,000 acres across the state which has been lying idle for long. Several industrial units, which were located on these plots, were closed down years ago. Most of these plots were leased out for industry. The state government is planning to reuse the plots so that these plots can change hands for setting up industries. More than 100 acres were found at Belur, while another big plot of 1100 acres could be traced at Goaltore in Midnapore (west). Most of the plots are lying in North 24-Parganas, Hooghly and Howrah. The state government is also pushing industries in backward areas like Bankura and Purulia and for that it has announced special incentives for the investors.
8. Airport city project at Andal: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee formally launched Bengal Aerotropolis Project on 19th Sept 2013, a venture of local entrepreneurs in partnership with Singapore`s Changi Airport International. This project, aimed at constructing a township and industrial park around a new airport 200km from Kolkata, could receive up to Rs.12,000 crore in investments and create as many as 100,000 jobs. The CM visited the newly-developed airport – the first such privately built greenfield facility in the region – and christen it Kavi Nazrul Islam Airport after the Bengali poet, musician and revolutionary. Consequently, the airport city project at Andal is now palatable. In a bid to woo airlines, Mamata Banerjee announced a waiver of sales tax on aviation turbine fuel for Andal, Bagdogra and Cooch Behar airports, shortly after the Mumbai meet. With work on the airport nearing completion, the focus will soon shift to the city in the making that will develop as a satellite township to both Durgapur and Asansol. The 650-acre airport is the nucleus of the airport city project that will also house an integrated township and an industrial and logistics hub. The township with contain residential blocks, hospitals, schools, markets, hotels, sporting venues, shops, offices and retail centers. When complete, it will be home to nearly 15,000 people. When it does take off in the first half of next year, it will shrink the world for those living in the region. The airport city will completely transform the socio-economic scenario of south Bengal.
9. Investment windfall in Asansol-Durgapur belt:
– The Rs 5,000-crore 1,000 mw greenfield thermal power plant of Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) at Andal has already commenced commercial generation and secured the energy needs of this rapidly industrializing belt.
– The Rs 17,000-crore greenfield 2.5 million tonne integrated Iisco Steel Plant of SAIL is set to start commercial production in months.
– Construction of the Rs 5,000-crore Matix Fertiliser Plant of the Essar Group at Panagarh is progressing steadily.
– The NHDP of the Centre has sanctioned the six-lane conversion of NH-2 connecting New Delhi with Kolkata, expanding what is already the lifeline of the area.
– Essar Oil & Gas Ltd is setting up the Rs 3,000-crore coal bed methane gas extraction project in Durgapur that will open new vistas in alternative fuel and green energy in the region. The pipeline network has already been laid.
– Several companies like HR Johnson (ceramic unit at Panagarh) and Jayashree Tea (fertilizer plant at Panagarh) have evinced interest.
– DVC chairman RN Sen has also announced that the company will develop an unused 250-acre plot at Panagarh to set up an industrial park.
– The biggest paper unit in the east – Ballavpur Paper Mill – is planning to expand the Raniganj unit.
– Pramod Srivastava, director of Allied ICD Services, eastern India`s only operational dry port at the Export Promotion Industrial Park (EPIP) in Durgapur, is extremely upbeat about the future. While the ICD handles 1,200 containers per month at present, he is confident that the figure will shoot up to 2,500 containers by next March.
– P&H Joy Mining, the Indian subsidiary of US based Joy Global Inc, has purchased 25 acres in Andal to set up a manufacturing unit.
– Ardex Endura and Shyam Agro Foods have also taken land at the airport city as has Mission Hospital.
– With industries pouring in, real estate sector is also abuzz with activity as some of the leading groups in the realty sector line up projects.
– Vedanta Group – Aluminum/ power to invest 20,000 Cr
– Videocon Group – Steel / Power to invest 15,000 Cr
– Abhijit Group – Steel/ Power to invest 10,00 Cr
– Consumer goods firms and auto companies are also making a beeline to tap customers.
“The Asansol-Durgapur belt is attracting the biggest investment in the state at present and the Andal airport city is poised to play a bigger role in its further development,“ said Burdwan district magistrate Saumitra Mohan.
Asansol Chamber of Commerce secretary and FICCI member Subrata Dutta is delighted at the strong showing by both central public sector undertakings and private companies. “Kobe Steel of Japan is setting up a Rs 5,000-crore steel unit in Durgapur. I am happy I live in a city that is bustling with energy,“ he said.
10. Prospective banks will find space in financial hub: The financial hub at Rajarhat New Town, the second in the country after Bandra Kurla in Mumbai, picks up pace as the Housing Infrastructure and Development Corporation (Hidco) is approaching 26 financial institutions which have applied for new banking license. It has already roped in eight banking institutions for setting up their units in the financial hub.