Land not the only issue for industrialisation: WB govt

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Kolkata: The West Bengal government on Saturday maintained that though it would not get involved in acquiring land for industry, it was not the only issue for promoting industrialisation.

"Why only land? Poor infrastructure, poor connectivity and poor logistics are also crucial issues which will have to be addressed," Commerce and Industry minister Partha Chatterjee told Ficci members at the chamber`s national executive meet here.

Owing poor physical infrastructure, most industries preferred to set up along national highways, he noted.

On the issue of land, he said that it was concern for the industry and under no circumstances, the government would get into the matter. It would have to be directly acquired by the industry.

Replying to the queries, Chatterjee said the state government had undertaken a study to assess the quantum of land locked up in closed units of private and public sectors.

He also urged the industry to invest in backward districts of the state like Purulia, Bankura, West Midnapore and in North Bengal.

Food processing, textiles, iron and steel, petrochemicals, gems and jewellery and traditional craftsmanship were the areas where the state was seeking capital, he said.

Prominent Ficci members who attended the meet were Marico chairman Harsh Mariwala, HSBC head Naina Lal Kidwai, Britannia CEO Vinita Bali and former presidents of the chamber among others.

Chatterjee said while a core group comprising state government officials, ministers and representatives of chamber of commerce had been formed, expert panels might also be set up for specific sectors.

Stating that the number of unemployment was a staggering one crore, finance minister Amit Mitra said: "We will attack the problem head on".

He also said the debt burden on the state was in excess of Rs 2 lakh crore.

"Our government is committed to steer away the state from the precarious situation which the former Left Front regime has bestowed in the last 34 years," Mitra said.

Mitra said that healthcare was a sector which Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had repeatedly harped upon.

The state government would invite private investments under the PPP model for setting up block-level hospitals and diagnostic centres.

He also apprised the meet that the new government did not believe in the policy of bandhs and there had been structural change in the mindset at the top.

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