Bengal Inc lines up to woo Narendra Modi

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  1. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    Bengal Inc lines up to woo Narendra Modi

    KOLKATA: Narendra Modi is set to achieve in half a day what Mamata Banerjee has failed in nearly two years in power — attract big-ticket investment from Bengal's industrialists.

    As demand for invitation to his joint chamber address on Tuesday hits a feverish pitch, a team from the Gujarat chief minister's office in Ahmedabad is busy finalizing a slew of proposals that may attract investment worth several hundred crores from Bengal's opportunity-starved business fraternity.

    "Wherever Modi goes, he promotes the state seriously. The CM's office has told us he wants value and substance to emerge from the meeting. There will be serious proposals on the table. After all, he does roll out the red carpet to investment and takes on-the-spot decision," said Bharat Chamber president Ashok Aikat.

    Modi's office, that is known to micro-manage every aspect of his visit, has been in touch with officials of the three host chambers — Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Merchants Chamber of Commerce (MCC) and Bharat Chamber— on a daily basis for the past couple of weeks to confirm every minute detail. Two teams from Ahmedabad have also visited the city to check his security detail.

    Gujarat has been a prime destination for years. Not only does it have large tracts of non-agricultural land with good infrastructure — something that Bengal lacks — his office also packages proposals and then places them before investors," said Aikat.

    Sources said proposals in petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and alternative energy like solar and wind power will be traded across the table at select private meetings with industrialists on Tuesday afternoon.

    Secretary general of the ICC, Rajiv Singh, who has worked with Modi's office for three years, said: "Modi doesn't have to come to Bengal to attract investment — it flows there because industrialists will always look for opportunities and Gujarat offers that."

    While Modi may be interested to reach out to a larger audience, the secretariats of the three host chambers are having a tough time restricting the invitee list to 800. "I have never seen such craze. Just about everyone wants to attend the programme," said MCC functionary S Roy.

    The MCC has received 5,000 requests but has been able to meet only 230. Nayantara Pal Chowdhury, former president of Bengal National Chamber of Commerce & Industry, who has managed to bag an invite, says the mad scramble is justified given Modi's enigmatic image in this part of the country.

    Modi will arrive in the city on Monday evening. On Tuesday morning, he is likely to visit Belur Math and Kalighat between 6am and 9.30am. Thereafter, he will address business leaders and follow it up with meetings with the three host chambers and individual industrialists. Later in the afternoon, he will address BJP workers at Mahajati Sadan. He will then attend a Gujarati Samaj programme at Science City.
     
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