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May 14, 2011

We will attract large private investments: Mamata Banerjee

We will attract large private investments: Mamata Banerjee

Mission accomplished, West Bengal's CM-in-waiting Mamata Banerjee spoke to an eminent journalist about the road ahead. 

Q:What would be the task before the new government and how do you propose to scarry it out? What is your game plan?

Mamata Banerjee: The people of Bengal have showed their trust in us. We will work to benefit them. The first task is to provide good governance. The results have shown that people are ready for a change. They have given us the chance to recreate the glory of Bengal. We will focus on micro, small and medium enterprises of West Bengal. We will also focus on labour-intensive sectors to generate employment. Education will get a push and be used to empower more people. There is so much more that can be done, and will be done.

Q:How open are you to the idea of wooing large private sector investments?

Mamata Banerjee: We are open to everyone who wants to contribute in our mission to make West Bengal a glorious state. We will attract large private investments in engineering, tea, jute, manufacturing and in all the fields which require such investments.

Q:Are there any high-profile private sector industrialists/industry groups that you may want to invite?

Mamata Banerjee: The results have just come in. After years of struggle, we have reached this point. We will take all our plans forward. I will talk (about) specifics later.

Q:You had once spoken of your dream to improve the infrastructure of various places in Bengal to international levels. What would be your immediate targets vis-a-vis upgrading infrastructure, and how do you propose to fund such projects?

Mamata Banerjee: We will look at policies which can improve infrastructure. The state will be developed as a logistics hub and a transport corridor. We will look at implementation of the blueprint developed for the power sector. We can give you more details once we have completed the assessment of the current situation.

Q:The Netaji Subhash International Airport is the first experience that any incoming visitor to the state has. The airport, compared to the terminals in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, is pathetic. So also are the quality and frequency of flights. Will you use your good offices with the UPA government in Delhi to improve the experience?

Mamata Banerjee: Infrastructure overall, including the airport, will get our full attention. Modernisation of Kolkata airport has to happen. We have no doubts about it. Not only in Kolkata, we will ensure world-class airports in other cities as well. The feasibility of setting up new airports at Malda, Cooch Behar, Medinipur and other places will be looked into. We plan to upgrade the airport at Bagdogra and make it an international airport.

Q:Education and health are in a shambles. What would be your priorities and how soon do you hope to make a difference to these sectors?

Mamata Banerjee: Health requires our immediate attention. We had highlighted the poor state of infrastructure for health. Now, we will set up a four-tier health infrastructure. Healthcare facilities will reach every single district in the state. A micro health insurance scheme is also a possibility. The vocational education programme will be overhauled. The teachers' training programme will be scaled up. New universities will be created. More medical colleges, madrassas and Urdu schools will also be planned. The Sachar Committee and Ranganathan Commission recommendations will be studied and implemented. School infrastructure will also be improved.

Q:With this huge mandate comes a huge expectation. How much do you really hope to achieve by 2016?

Mamata Banerjee: By 2016, the people of West Bengal would have forgotten the terrible state in 2011. The verdict has given us the confidence to restore the confidence of the people.

News Courtesy: Economic Times
Photo Courtesy:The Telegraph