West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday exuded confidence that the state will again emerge as the number one destination for industry and assured that the government will always be on its side.
The government has already created an empowered group which will help in setting up industries faster, she said launching a slew of projects at Panagarh in Paschim Bardhaman district.
"Now, our destination is industry. West Bengal is already number one in social welfare schemes. An empowered group has been formed for this purpose of which I am the chairman. Industry minister Partha Chatterjee and other various departmental representatives are its members," she said.
The group will meet once a month to see that industries are set up faster and provide employment to the youth.
The chief minister said, "Our government will always be on the side of the industry. We have also framed some policies as well".
Mentioning some of the projects which are in the pipeline, Banerjee said Deocha Pachami is the second largest coal block which has been allocated to the state by the Centre.
"The government is ready with the first phase of the Deocha Pachami coal mine (on vacant government land) and also ready with the rehabilitation package for the second phase. An investment of Rs 15,000 crore will be made. Once completed, there will be no shortage of electricity for the next 100 years in West Bengal and will also be cheap," she said.
Banerjee said the other important projects of the state are the Tajpur port, where an EoI has already been prepared, and the dedicated freight corridor from Dankuni to Amritsar via Raghunathpur in Purulia.
"This corridor will attract Rs 72,000 crore investment and provide lakhs of employment. The state will set up industrial hubs at Durgapur, Jamuria and Howrah which will having the potential to provide 10,000 jobs at an investment of Rs 15,000 crore", she added.
The chief minister said that the state has framed a policy relating to production of ethanol using broken rice.
"Ethanol will be used as a biofuel and mixed with petrol or diesel. This will also help the farmers to raise their income levels", she said.
Many industries will come up for this and it has the potential to provide 48,000 jobs involving an investment of Rs 15,000 crore.
Regarding IT, she said the government is coming up with a data policy. "The government will help in data handling and storage. 24,000 jobs will be created and there will be an investment of Rs 20,000 crore.
The greenfield airport at Andal will be made an international one and the state government had also provided Rs 150 crore in the budget for this.
Regional connectivities will be set up at Cooch Behar, Malda and Balurghat, while 30 helicopter stations will be built.
She took a dig at the Centre and said the industry is doing a tightrope walk as there is pressure from the CBI, ED and the IT departments.
The chief minister said that while nationwide jobs are shrinking due to the pandemic, West Bengal has seen 40 per cent reduction in poverty and rise in employment of the same figure during this period.
She asked WBIDC to take steps so that the annual business meet may be restarted again.
"We could not hold the Bengal business meets for two years due to the pandemic. But I now request WBIDC to make preparations for holding it next year at a convenient time, maybe February or March", she said.