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September 10, 2015

US companies show interest to partner with West Bengal for smart cities

US companies show interest to partner with West Bengal for smart cities

With four smart cities coming up in West Bengal, US-based multinationals like HP, Cisco and Otis have shown interest in partnering with the state. The companies are actively looking into technological collaboration with the State Government agencies to get the proposed smart cities rolling.

“Hewlett-Packard has shown interest in health care and telemedicine while Pratt & Whitney in providing elevator services,” Dr Amit Mitra, State Finance and Industry Minister said at the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

US-based Cisco has shown interest in e-learning and e-health solutions. Beverage firms CocaCola and Pepsi have also shown interest of further investment.

Dr Mitra said 25% of the allotted land in each of these theme townships will be kept to develop the “theme while the rest is to be dedicated for other purposes”.

He said in the recent roadshow held in New Delhi to attract investment for these theme townships, Kajaria Cements along with Hiranandanis and the Piramals have shown interest.

Giving an update over the progress of the Rs 2.43 lakh crore investment proposals concluded during the Bengal Business Summit in January this year, Mitra said around Rs.87,000 crore is already in process.

The West Bengal Government, which had organized a road show in New Delhi to attract investment and technological partners for the proposed smart cities, met the multinationals’ representatives on Monday at New Delhi. One of the multinationals has shown interest in the proposed smart city projects in Durgapur and Haldia as they already have a base there. Two officials of the US department of treasury had been to Kolkata to discuss the State’s plans to develop the smart cities. West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO) is also working with the representatives of Future Cities Catapult (FCC), a UK-based urban planning agency, to chalk out how the smart cities can be developed. Bengal has signed an MoU with FCC in London during Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee’s recent visit there.

The State is also developing theme-based cities in areas like Baruipur, Kalyani, Asansol, Siliguri, Dumurjola and Shantiniketan. FICCI has shown interest in partnering with the state for the proposed theme city project on 127 acres in Shantiniketan. At Asansol, the industry-themed city is likely to be promoted in association with the CII, while the Baruipur senior citizen-themed city will be promoted in association with the CREDAI, Bengal.

The State Government is also inviting bids for the cities till September 21.