London : West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has called on the UK to invest in her state stating that “backlogs and red tape are gone”. In reference to the progress made by the Trinamool Congress government over the last four years, she said “If there is a vision, there is a mission…(otherwise) there will be no action plan also”. “If you say London is the (financial) capital of the world, I say Bengal is the human capital of the world,” she said in her address at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Monday.

Banerjee’s five-day visit to the UK has been downscaled considerably as a result of the seven-day state mourning declared in memory of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who passed away on Monday evening. A lunch meeting for all visiting and other UK-based business delegates at Taj St James Hotel in central London on Tuesday was cancelled. A gala Bengal-themed cultural evening planned at the Natural History Museum in London has been modified into a “creative musical homage” in memory of Kalam but later also cancelled as no official musical events are allowed during a state mourning period.

A reception to be hosted by the Indian high commissioner to the UK, Ranjan Mathai, in honour of the West Bengal chief minister and her 62-member delegation tomorrow evening has also been cancelled.      Floral tributes to Rabindranath Tagore, at his statue in Gordon Square in central London, and Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at Parliament Square and a closed-door business meeting.

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