RS 1331 CRORE INVESTED IN 18 PROJECTS BETWEEN JANUARY – JULY 2013
By bappaditya paul
West Bengal has this time realised the highest ever industrial investment in the past five years. This comes to fore on a day (1 August 2013) when West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee held a meeting with industrialists in Mumbai to woo them to set up industries in the state. According to the latest report on the country’s industrial scenario released by the department of industrial policy and promotion under the Union ministry of commerce and industry, from January-July, West Bengal has realised a net industrial investment of Rs 1,331 crore. This comes from 18 industrial units that have been either set up newly or are expansions of the existing ones. The investment figure is only up to the month of July and thus has the prospects of going up further.
In 2009 the state had recorded an investment of Rs 632 crore, in 2010 Rs 1,163 crore, in 2011 Rs 325 crore and in 2012, the investment figure stood at Rs 962 crore. In fact, until now, the Rs 1,163 crore investment in 2010, was the highest investment that Bengal had ever witnessed.Now in its third year, the Trinamul Congress government has surpassed that record with five months still left in the calendar. Moreover, another 41 investment proposals worth Rs 1,744 crore are pending. The Trinamul Congress government assumed power in Bengal in May 2011.
This comes against the backdrop of the Mamata Banerjee-government’s much-criticised hands-off policy on land acquisition and refusal to repeal the urban land ceiling ~ often considered the main hurdles for industrialisation in Bengal. There is however a flip side to this new record ~ all of them have come from small-scale industries and the state has not seen any big-ticket investment ever since the Trinamul Congress came to power. Most of the investments were in leather, textile, readymade garments and the food or food processing units. The much talked about Jindal steel factory at Salboni in West Midnapore and the Infosys or Wipro’s IT SEZs at Rajarhat in Kolkata still remain a distant dream.
(The author is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This report first appeared in The Statesman on 2 August 2013.)