Industry

RIL plans to invest ₹5,000 crore more in West Bengal

Bring ‘em in: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani at the summit. PTI

Bring ‘em in: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani at the summit. PTI  

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Chairman Mukesh Ambani says Reliance is exploring possibilities to make the State an innovation and technology hub for the group

Reliance Industries Ltd. chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani announced a fresh investment of ₹5,000 crore, in addition to the group’s investments about ₹15,000 crore made in the State since January 2015. He said that while West Bengal figured among the group’s largest investments in India, RIL had also emerged as one of West Bengal’s largest investors.

Most of the group’s investments have gone towards creating Reliance Jio’s telecom network, he said, while speaking at the inaugural plenary session of the fourth Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS).

He said he had attended BGBS in 2016, committing ₹4,500 crore in investments then.

He also announced a chair in a prestigious university to honour renowned scientist Dr. Satyendra Nath Bose.

Mr. Ambani shared the dais with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Finance Minister Amit Mitra, steel magnate L.N. Mittal, property tycoon N. Hiranandani, banker Uday Kotak, Spicejet chairman Ajay Singh and Kishore Biyani, among others.

The latest investment is to be made in Jio and the digital ecosystem, retail and petro-retail over the next few years. “Bengal today means business.. A miracle has happened,” Mr. Ambani said.

The new initiatives announced by Mr. Ambani include developing digital tools (such as the cloud-based POS solution) for small retailers, making West Bengal the group’s innovation and technology hub for customer devices like set top boxes and mobiles as well as for connecting hospitals and schools through the optical fibre network.

Mittal, others commit

Mr. Mittal, CEO of ArcelorMittal, said that West Bengal had the “necessary ingredients for business — political stability, good infrastructure, skilled workforce and a limited bureaucracy.”

He said that the Mittal Family Foundation would explore possibilities for engagement with the State. Sanjiv Goenka, chairman of the RP-SG group, announced a new hospital, an FMCG park and a specality carbon black unit in Durgapur.

SpiceJet’s Mr. Singh said the air carrier was keen to make the State its hub for flights to ASEAN countries. It is also exploring the possibility of making seaplanes in West Bengal which could be used for tourism in this riverine State.

‘Proven wrong’

Realtor Mr. Hiranandani said that group company H-Energy, which is developing LNG regasification terminals and cross-country pipelines on India’s west and east coasts, would bring clean energy to the city in 24 months. “I had discouraged my son from coming to West Bengal... I have been proven wrong,” he proclaimed.

Ms. Banerjee said that the State offered political stability and an environment of tolerance to the investors.

“We love all castes, creeds and religions. We also love all States.. but they have got exhausted, saturated. West Bengal is still untapped .. invest here,” she appealed.

She said that eight countries had joined as partners at the fourth BGBS in which 20 countries participated. Poland had brought the largest delegation, followed by Korea, Italy and China.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 2:40:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/ril-plans-to-invest-5000-crore-more-in-west-bengal/article22451373.ece

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