Perception about Bengal has changed: ITC’s Deveshwar

Kolkata: Observing that land was an issue faced by the industry across India, ITC chairman Y.C. Deveshwar Wednesday said the industry’s perception about West Bengal has changed and the state was moving in the right direction towards attracting investment.

Participating in the two-day Bengal Global Business Summit organised by the Mamata Banerjee government here, Deveshwar also said whichever state would curb the procedural hassles to the least will be the game changer.

“Land acquisition and environmental clearance are an issue across India and not only Bengal. Lot of projects have not materialised only because of land and environmental clearance. Its good that they are now amending the law,” Deveshwar told reporters on the sidelines of the summit.

He congratulated the central government for approving an ordinance to amend the Land Acquisition Act to remove “procedural difficulties” in acquiring land for national projects and to “further strengthen” provisions concerning “affected families”.

Talking about the investors’ perception about Bengal under the rule of Trinamool Congress which came to power riding on an anti-acquisition movement, Deveshwar said the scenario was changing.

“There is always a gap between perception and reality, perceptions lingers on even after the reality has changed. The reality has changed, otherwise you wont make such an effort,” he said referring to the summit that was attended industry captain from across India and abroad.

“There is certainly an intent here. Bengal is moving in the right direction because there is no other option. If Bengal has to progress, it has to attract investment, and the summit definitely is an example of that effort to invite investments.

“Every state in india now competing for the scarce capital for jobs for their youth in the respective states. Every state has come to the conclusion that they have to create a conducive environment to attract capital,” he said.

If capital doesn’t come, you don’t get jobs and if you don’t create jobs, the electorate will not be happy with you. So every state is now trying. Whoever is able to solve this maze of procedural hassles, will the game changers,” he said.

Talking about investments, he said the ITC would be investing Rs. 25000 crore across the country in the next five years including Rs. 3000 crore in Bengal.