Rs 3,345 cr investment coming to North Bengal through CII: Amit Mitra

Report by: 
Prashant Acharya
SILIGURI
5 Dec 2017

Investments coming to North Bengal through CII initiatives in the region since 2015 stand at Rs 2,345 crore, according to minister Amit Mitra.
“We have received an Expression of Interest for new investment which is worth Rs 888 cr at the North Bengal Conclave.  During Agro Synergy in the month of May 2017, it was approx 600 crore. If we combine the work undertaken in 2015 proposed investment and proposed new projects the figure comes to a staggering Rs 2345.82 crore. This is just an indicative figure,” Mitra, the Minister for Finance and Commerce & Industries told industry members through a video address.
“This shows the huge potential of the region. I assure you that the West Bengal Government will do everything to attract investments in North Bengal,” Mitra said, adding that in e-taxation, West Bengal is number one in the country.
Pradeep Gurung, Managing Director of Endeavour School from Darjeeling District will invest 80 crores in primary school in Siliguri; Sri Sri Academy will put in Rs 75 crore for a new school.
North Bengal Conclave was held in association with West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC), Government of West Bengal.
Tourism Minister, Gautam Deb, who made a strong case for North Bengal as a formidable educational hub, spoke of the need for improving connectivity in the region through development of Asian Highway 2 and 48. “These Highways will connect North Bengal to the South East Asian countries via Myanmar. Improved connectivity with Bangladesh through road, rail and air is also an imperative. A proposal for promoting tea tourism is being prepared,” Deb said.
He also invited investors for Gazaldoba (Bhorer Aaalo). The project has been planned on 208 acres and the estimated cost is around Rs 2,200 crore. Along with plush resorts, an ayurvedic spa, youth hostel, hospitality training centre, bird watching centre, golf course, boating, elephant and jeep safaris have been planned on the site.
The Minister also spoke of the need for exploring if Buddhist tourism circuits which can be built in the region. “Buddhist tourism circuits will draw a large number of tourists from Nepal, Bhutan and other South East Asian countries,” he said.
Rabindranath Ghose, Minister for North Bengal Development, spoke of the need for stronger trade ties with Bangladesh, and bigger investments in North Bengal.
Barun Ray, Secretary, Department, North Bengal Development & Divisional Commissioner, North Bengal, said the budgetary allocation for North Bengal has risen to more than Rs 500 crore in recent times.
Earlier, Rajiv Lochan, Chairman, CII North Bengal Zonal Council & CEO, Lochan Tea Ltd, said North Bengal is becoming an attractive investment destination. “It offers a wide variety of options both for big as well as small investors such as manufacturing, tourism, tea tourism, real estate, healthcare, education, agriculture and floriculture, food processing and IT,” Lochan said.
“CII has been working closely with all the District Administration, DIC, and chambers and associations in the eight districts. CII Teams visit and meet entrepreneurs in the districts twice a year to forge synergistic alliances for sustainable development in the region which has in the past few years seen significant initiatives from the State Government. Enthusiasm among entrepreneurs about North Bengal can easily be felt,” Lochan said.
The 5th North Bengal Conclave also came alive with business delegations coming from Bangladesh and Bhutan. A series of B2B meetings were organized between the entrepreneurs from Bangladesh, Bhutan and also those coming from the 8 districts of North Bengal. The focus sectors of the B2B meetings were MSME, Tourism, IT/ BPO, Education. The Joint Director, Department of MSME and GM DIC, interacted with the representatives.