Mamata turns her focus on industry

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee during inauguration of projects at Panaghar, in Paschim Bardhaman district.   | Photo Credit: PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that after the implementation of social security schemes, the new focus of her government would be on industry.

Ms Banerjee announced the setting up of an empowered group of industries chaired by her where key Ministers and senior secretaries of would take stock of the investment proposals every month.

The announcement is crucial, as the Trinamool Congress government, since assuming power in 2011, has been trying to brush aside the anti-industry image, as it came to power after violent protests over forcible land acquisition at Singur and Nandigram.

The event at Panagarh in Bardhaman, where Ms. Banerjee made her fresh pitch for industry was to announce the setting up of a ₹ 400-crore worth plant that would produce polyester films.

Single window system

The Chief Minister said the suggestion for setting up an empowered group came from the business community itself. “It will be a single window system. We have decided that there will be at least one meeting of the empowered group every month that will take stock of the proposals submitted, why they are pending and what can be done by the government,” she stated.

Ms. Banerjee also spoke about the world’s second largest coal block, the Deocha Pachami Coal Mines, spread over 11,222 acres with coal reserves of around 2.2 billion tonnes in Birbhum’s Mohammed Bazar area.

“After the project is implemented, there will be no shortage of electricity. We have the land for the first phase and for the second phase, we will have discussions with locals,” she asserted.

Biofuels such as ethanol would be produced in Bengal and an investment of ₹1500 crore would be made in the sector that would generate thousands of jobs. The government planned to build a 400 MW data center in the next five years, she added.

After securing an emphatic victory in the 2021 polls in May, Ms Banerjee, in the past four months, had focused on rolling out schemes promised in her poll manifesto. The ambitious cash incentive scheme of ‘Lakshmi Bhandhar’, where ₹500 a month will be given to women from general category and ₹1000 a month for women of reserved category, has been rolled by the government, generating huge response.

‘Duare Sarkar’ camps

“About two crore applicants have approached us through the ‘Duare Sarkar’ camps and about 1.5 crore are women. This can be an example of women empowerment,” she pointed out. Banks in the State should operate full-time now. Many new accounts were being opened due to the ‘Lakshmi Bhandar’ scheme, she stressed.

This was the first occasion after being sworn in as Chief Minister for the third time on May 5, 2021 that Ms Banerjee has said that her government will focus on bringing in industry. According to experts, West Bengal has been struggling with lack of employment opportunities and migration of large number of workers to other States for work. Soon after coming to power, Industry and Commerce Minister Partha Chatterjee had urged the Tatas who had to shift their small car project out of Singur due to protests in 2008, to come and invest in Bengal.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 2:07:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/mamata-turns-her-focus-on-industry/article36234532.ece

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