July 30, 2015
WB CM invites David Cameron to revisit Kolkata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has invited British Prime Minister David Cameron to revisit Kolkata soon, describing the city “a true getaway to the east”.
“My message for the British PM is that he must visit Kolkata again soon and see that it is truly the gateway to the east,” she said in response to a letter from Mr Cameron apologising for not being able to meet her in London due to his tour of South East Asia.
“I am sorry that my travel plans mean I will not be in London to see you in London…I fondly recall our meeting in Kolkata in November 2013, when we discussed the positive UK-West Bengal bilateral cooperation that exists, and the wealth of trade and investment opportunities this offers,” the British PM had written in his letter dated July 24.
Ms Banerjee highlighted that it was a matter of “destiny” that Britain turns to Kolkata and West Bengal, which she described as a “gateway to Asia”.
“Britain started with Kolkata as its business capital (during the Raj) so that is the destination. History repeats itself and it is destiny that British business should expand to Kolkata,” she said.
Asked how the West Bengal capital compares to London, the Trinamool Congress leader said both cities have their own identity but there are a number of similarities.
“As I have been walking around I see a lot of similarities in architecture and road names. They have Queen Victoria’s statue, we have Victoria Memorial. London is an expensive city but Kolkata is not. It is a soft, soothing, cheap city. London is pollution-free and we are fast moving towards a cleaner, greener city,” she said.
Walking has been central theme of the chief minister’s visit to the UK, as she prefers to explore London mostly by foot in her trademark white sari and flip-flops.
Asked if she would revisit the British capital, she said: “I will definitely come back. This has been a very fruitful business meet. The perception of Bengal has changed today. It is set to become the industrial hub of India. The size of investments will become clear over time but 21 MoUs have been signed, which is a very positive sign.”
“Today the world is a united family and we must walk together,” she said.