Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee has said that she was never anti-industry, but an impression was created to that effect by some people.
She was answering a question here on Friday whether there was any difference between the Mamata Banerjee of a year ago and the person now.
Talking to reporters after a two-hour interactive session with industry, she said: “Never was I against industry, but such an illusion was created by certain quarters.” Indicating that there was no need for industry to be pitched against agriculture, she said: “Industry and agriculture can walk together rather than being on a clash course.” She said she found the industry’s mood positive during the interaction. “Industry must smile also,” she added.
To a question from an industrialist what would be her 100-day programme in case her party was voted to power, Ms. Banerjee said that she wanted industry to come up in a friendly manner.
“There would be no killings, no disturbances. You will not be deprived. But if there is any dispute it would be solved through negotiations and by exploring options.”
Sandipan Chakraborty, Managing Director of Tata Ryerson, a company which had tried last year to talk the TMC chief out of her firm stand on Singur, said that there was a sea-change in her attitude now.
“She has rekindled the hopes of industry and they are happy but they will also wait and watch for delivery.”
TRL had been among the Nano vendors, which had to shift out of Singur following the withdrawal of the project from the State.
Harsh Neotia of Ambuja Cement felt that the process of trust-building had begun. Sanjiv Goenka, Vice-Chairman of RPG Enterprises felt that it was a very business-like session where the Minister came across as an engaged and industry–friendly person.
Ms. Banerjee said that all the apex chambers of commerce participated in the meeting and gave their suggestions. “We want the dedicated freight corridor project to come up quickly. It will end at Dankuni in West Bengal and will create industry hubs along its route,” she said during her interaction with journalists.
Earlier Ms. Banerjee told the gathering: “Without your help, we cannot do it. I want change, I am impatient.”
She asked the industrialists to submit their proposal and intents. “Our intention is to help you.” Ms.Banerjee passed on relevant questions to the Railway Board members on the dais.
Amit Mitra, Chairman of the expert committee on Railways, said the committee had identified seven to eight areas of “low hanging fruits” which can be delivered fast with the help of the Railway Board.
These would be presented by next week to the Railway Minister.